The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts is presenting the first major Canadian retrospective of Alexander Calder (1898-1976) to highlight all the many facets of the career of the American “who made sculpture move.” Developed, organized and circulated by the MMFA, the exhibition Alexander Calder: Radical Inventor presents 150 works and archival documents to portray the full scope of this artist’s extraordinarily innovative multidisciplinary practice: from his wire sculpture to his paintings, and from his invention of the mobile to his monumental sculptures.
A giant of modern art
As Sartre wrote, “These movements that intend only to please, to enchant our eyes, have nonetheless a profound and, as it were, metaphysical meaning.”
This French-speaking, francophile American moved in the cosmopolitan modernist avant-garde circles of 1920s Paris with figures such as Arp, Cocteau, Le Corbusier, Duchamp, Léger, Miró, Mondrian, Man Ray, Prévert and many others. His art, lively and serious at the same time, attracted crowds from the very start of his career, with his miniature circus and wire portraiture. Today, in Montreal, world capital of the circus arts, Calder’s talents as a performance artist, inventor, painter and sculptor are revealed.
While best known for his invention of the mobile, he worked in an astonishing array of media, including drawings, sculptures, paintings, design (for textiles and posters) as well as stage sets and props for dance and music performances. During his lifetime Calder created over 22,000 works and exhibited on five continents."
"Based on new research, the book Alexander Calder: Radical Inventor will examine the full scope of the artist’s career through the perspective of engineering, popular culture, physics, astronomy, photography, architecture, industry, politics and conservation. Written and edited by Elizabeth Hutton Turner and Anne Grace, the catalogue also includes essays by Bernard Carlson, Eleonora Nagy, Pascal Jacob, Vanja Malloy, Linda Henderson, Claire Raymond, Emily Caplan Reed, Alex J. Taylor and Abigail Mack. The 225-page catalogue is fully illustrated, with archival images by Herbert Matter, André Kertész, Thérèse Bonney and Andreas Feininger.
Credits and Curatorial Team
An exhibition developed, organized and circulated by the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts in collaboration with the Calder Foundation. It is curated by Elizabeth Hutton Turner, Guest Curator, and Anne Grace, Exhibition Curator at the MMFA, under the direction of Nathalie Bondil, Director General and Chief Curator of the MMFA.
The exhibition is developed, organized and circulated by the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts in collaboration with the Calder Foundation.
The exhibition and its international tour were made possible thanks to the generous support of the Terra Foundation for American Art, Major Benefactor of Alexander Calder: Radical Inventor.
The Museum wishes to underline the invaluable contribution of Pembroke and Provencher_Roy Architects. It further acknowledges the vital contribution of Air Canada, the Angel Circle of the MMFA and its media partners: Bell, La Presse+ and the Montreal Gazette.
The exhibition also received support from the Department of Canadian Heritage through the Canada Travelling Exhibitions Indemnification Program. The Museum extends its thanks to Quebec’s Ministère de la Culture et des Communications, the Conseil des arts de Montréal and the Canada Council for the Arts for their ongoing support.
The Museum’s International Exhibition Programme receives financial support from the Exhibition Fund of the MMFA Foundation and the Paul G. Desmarais Fund.
In collaboration with
Herbert Matter (1907-1984), Calder in His Roxbury Studio, Connecticut, 1941, black and white photograph. Calder Foundation, New York. © 2018 Calder Foundation, New York / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / SOCAN, Montreal. Photograph by Herbert Matter courtesy Calder Foundation, New York / Art Resource, New York
Cover of the book Alexander Calder: Radical Inventor