Calder’s Circus, Alexander Calder, 1926-31

Lion and Cage from Calder’s Circus, 1926-31, from 

Wire and fancy. That’s how I would describe this piece, or pieces rather. Three huge sets of miniature circus performers made of made of metal, wire, fabric, and yarn. A metal plated kangaroo the size of my hand rolls on ribbed washers. A clown wearing multi-colored layers topped by a lion coat has an almost ironically painted smile of red on his small wooden face. A lion with a plush face, yarn mane, and wire body is being tamed outside his cage by his wire-bodied master. And there’s tight-rope walkers, cowboys, acrobats, sword swallowers, everything expected of a circus setting, even the ringnmaster. I think I like it so much because there’s something about the idea of the circus that lends itself to being portrayed through this fanciful, although unglamorous, medium of wire.

Calder’s Circus, 1926-31, from the Whitney Museum of Art’s website.
Alexander Calder, Roaring with his Circus Lion, 1971, from .
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