Artist: Alexander Calder
Start Date: 1926
Gallery: Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, USA
Calder enrolled at the Art Students League in New York and also took a job illustrating for the National Police Gazette. The magazine sent him to sketch scenes from the local circus for two weeks, and so began a lifelong interest. In 1926 he moved to Paris and created his Cirque Calder, a sort of travelling circus set made from cloth, leather, wire and found materials. The pieces represented circus performers which were designed to be manipulated manually by Calder. Soon he was presenting his Cirque Calder in both Paris and New York to much acclaim. The performance lasted two hours and in many ways predated performance art by 40 years. Cirque Calder is now part of the permanent collection of the Whitney Museum in New York, but a live performance carried out by the artist in later years can be seen on youtube.com.