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Calder: The Conquest of Time by Jed Perl

Calder: The Conquest of Time

Calder: The Conquest of Time by Jed Perl
Oct 24, 2017 | 704 Pages
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    Oct 24, 2017 | 704 Pages

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    Oct 24, 2017 | 704 Pages

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“Calder is an artist whose influence is so ubiquitous that you sometimes completely lose sight of him. Jed Perl, one of our most brilliant art critics, has remedied this in a superbly researched, illustrated, and crafted biography of his early years. We can now savor Calder’s accomplishment fully and see where his genius lies, and how it matters to us today.” —John Ashbery
“In this richly satisfying biography, Calder appears as charming as ever, but he is also a much more powerful figure than the beloved teddy bear of legend. He becomes a modern philosopher-king, unpretentious but serious, who takes the true measure of a world that never stops moving.”
—Mark Stevens, co-author with Annalyn Swan of De Kooning: An American Master

“All artists are critics but very few critics are artists. Jed Perl is one of those few. He has the critical imagination to imagine Calder’s imagination, and the rare ability to engage that of the reader.” —Fran Lebowitz
“Calder’s magic brilliantly captivated by an astute biographer.” —John Richardson, author of A Life of Picasso

“Not all brilliant studies are definitive, and not all definitive studies are brilliant: Jed Perl’s Calder succeeds at being both. It’s a masterwork account of the life of one of America’s greatest artists that’s also an account of America coming into its own. Passionate, learned, playful and ranging, it’s as solidly-grounded as a stabile, but like a mobile it appears to defy gravity—and float.” —Joshua Cohen, author of Book of Numbers and Moving Kings

“Perl’s vibrant, driving prose distills a detailed, captivating and multigenerational history into a lucid and useful biography that miraculously eschews excess. He reveals how Calder’s magnetic personality and synthetic thinking determined a radical new course for 20th-century art.” —Adam D. Weinberg, Alice Pratt Brown Director, ‪Whitney Museum of American Art

“An immensely erudite work, meticulously thorough, painstakingly researched, and lavishly illustrated. Its grasp of detail and breadth of knowledge, especially of the American art scene, would be hard to match.” —Hilary Spurling, The New York Review of Books

“Fascinating….Perl persuades us that Calder, although inspired by isms—modernism, cubism, abstractionism, surrealism—somehow evaded their constricting clutches and pioneered new forms that evolved from playful to beautiful to monumental. Like Monet, Matisse, Picasso, Duchamp and Mondrian, Calder widened the vocabulary of perception….Come 2019, Perl plans to publish the concluding volume, as Calder becomes an international superstar. Expect that continuing saga to be every bit as unruly and instructive. Perl will undoubtedly orbit around his expository center of gravity with a confident élan that Calder might occasionally chuckle at but also recognize and appreciate.”The Washington Post
“Mr. Perl, a former art critic for the New Republic and now a regular contributor to the New York Review of Books, is eminently knowledgeable about artists, art movements and galleries, as well as the influences of the 1920s and 1930s that are the focus of this book. Just about every well-known artist—and many obscure ones—is mentioned, because Calder interacted with so many of them socially and creatively….Mr. Perl does an excellent job of placing Calder’s work in the context of that of his artistic contemporaries, all the while moving the biographical narrative forward.” The Wall Street Journal

“A meticulously researched biography of one of the most important sculptors of the 20th century….Not only an essential record of the first 40 years of Calder’s life, but an exceptional chronicle of the genesis of modernism.”Kirkus Reviews *starred review*

“A hulking and exhaustively researched biography of American sculptor Alexander Calder (1898–1976), focusing on the first four decades of his life….Perl throughout emphasizes Calder’s debt to the Arts and Crafts movement, particularly in his ability to blend fine art with everyday objects such as children’s toys. Generously illustrated and delivered in vibrant writing (he describes one of Calder’s tabletop standing mobiles as ‘the spiderweb strength and delicacy of an Emily Dickinson poem’), Perl offers what will be without question the authoritative source on the man whom the French affectionately nicknamed le roi du fil de fer—‘the wire king.’”Publishers Weekly *starred review*

“Art critic Perl joins the select ranks of multivolume arts biographers, among them Hilary Spurling on Matisse and John Richardson on Picasso, with the first in a foundational two-book inquiry into the unusually sunny life and exuberantly radical work of sculptor Alexander Calder….Graced with 400 photographs, Perl’s dynamic and illuminating biography, as buoyant and evocative as Calder’s sculptures, concludes with the ebullient and cosmic artist poised for ever more creative adventures and renown.”Booklist *starred review*

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