When presented with the opportunity to make things right, Tommy pushes the boundaries of normal behavior and waterboards his former nasty babysitter on the path to healing their broken past.
Because his father, Alexander Stirling Calder, received public commissions, the family traversed the country throughout Calder's childhood. Calder was encouraged to create, and from the age of eight he always had his own workshop wherever the family lived.
For Christmas inCalder presented his parents with two of his first sculptures, a tiny dog and duck cut from a brass sheet and bent into formation. The duck is kinetic—it rocks back and forth when tapped. Even at age eleven, his facility in handling materials was apparent.
Despite his talents, Calder did not originally set out to become an artist. He instead enrolled at the Stevens Institute of Technology after high school and graduated in with an engineering degree. Calder worked for several years after graduation at various jobs, including as a hydraulics and automotive engineer, timekeeper in a logging camp, and fireman in a ship's boiler room.
While serving in the latter occupation, on a ship from New York bound for San Francisco, Calder awoke on the deck to see both a brilliant sunrise and a scintillating full moon; each was visible on opposite horizons the ship then lay off the Guatemalan coast. The experience made a lasting impression on Calder: Calder committed to becoming an artist shortly thereafter, and in he moved to New York and enrolled at the Art Students League.
He also took a job illustrating for the National Police Gazette, which sent him to the Ringling Bros. The circus became a lifelong interest of Calder's, and after moving to Paris inhe created his Cirque Calder, a complex and unique body of art.
The assemblage included diminutive performers, animals, and props he had observed at the Ringling Bros. Fashioned from wire, leather, cloth, and other found materials, Cirque Calder was designed to be manipulated manually by Calder.
Every piece was small enough to be packed into a large trunk, enabling the artist to carry it with him and hold performances anywhere. Its first performance was held in Paris for an audience of friends and peers, and soon Calder was presenting the circus in both Paris and New York to much success.
Calder's renderings of his circus often lasted about two hours and were quite elaborate. Indeed, the Cirque Calder predated performance art by forty years.
Calder found he enjoyed working with wire for his circus. He soon began to sculpt from this material many portraits of his friends and public figures of the day. Word traveled about the inventive artist, and in Calder was given his first solo gallery show at the Weyhe Gallery in New York.In four years, five young men dear to Ward died of various causes, from drug overdose to accident to suicide, but the underlying cause of their deaths was a self-destructive spiral born of hopelessness.
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