In addition to the film, exhibition curator Elisabeth Paymal plans to show Calder's sixteen preliminary circus drawings, a spiral metal pin and earrings, and books of Aesop's fables and nursery rhymes bearing the artist's enchanting, airy illustrations. Two illustrations for a fable entitled "The Spider" show a swirly spiral spider resembling the pin and an amusing drawing of a man's profile with a spider on a long thread of spider-silk just barely above his head. A chunky red and yellow snake planned for the show is fashioned from kinked sheet metal. Hung with a small hidden weight, the snake's long, cursive tongue is a minimobile.
The exhibit's ostensible raison d'être consists of five planned cases showing different pages of Fêtes, Prévert's homage to Calder, which praises him and his work in lyrical, worshipful prose full of elegant metaphors. Calder, in turn, agreed to illustrate the book, and his blunt, bright abstractions (see above) offer pleasing shapes that, despite their simplicity, nevertheless radiate humor and joy.
The exhibit is on display on Thursdays and Fridays from noon to 8 p.m. (or by appointment) March 6 through April 7, in the Institute's Osterman Room in the basement of Rackham.
[Review published March 2006]