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Alexander Calder  cover photo

Alexander Calder 1998

Highly Recommended

Distributed by Distributed by First Run Features, 630 Ninth Avenue, Suite 1213, New York, NY 10036; 212-243-0600
Produced by Produced by Roger Sherman
Directed by Directed by Roger Sherman
DVD, color, 88 min.

General Adult
Japan, Popular Culture, Music Trade, Singers

Date Entered: 11/26/2014

ALA Notable:
Reviewed by: Reviewed by Linda Kelly Alkana, Department of History, California State University Long Beach

The strength of Roger Sherman’s documentary Alexander Calder lies in its generous coverage of Alexander Calder’s artistic output. In addition to showing the artist’s well-known mobiles and large stationary sculptures, the film features Calder’s artistic development and interests, as he creates his graceful mobile sculptures, large stationary sculptures, paintings, drawings, kinetic circus figures, jewelry and even hand made kitchen utensils. The film uses footage and photographs to show Calder working with a variety of media to capture motion and solidity, effectively making the whole world the subject of his art. Particularly striking in this film is Sherman’s use of pertinent and eloquent interviews by artists, writers, architects and family members including Arthur Miller, Ellsworth Kelly, I.M. Pei, Brendon Gill and Sandy Rower. They discuss “the man who changed the nature of what sculpture was and could be,” and the artist whose “hands were never at rest.”

Although Sherman traces some of Calder’s personal history, education, influences, successes and setbacks, the focus of the film is really on Calder the artist more than Calder the man. Alexander Calder, the dynamic artist who would not discuss art remains enigmatic, but his art wonderfully dominates the film as it does the world.

The video features bonus materials, including a discussion on Calder by Roger Sherman.


  • Emmy Award (Outstanding Series, American Masters)
  • George Foster Peabody Award