Alexander Calder

Alexander Calder
An American Masters special—a co-production of American Masters and Florentine Films/Sherman Pictures LLC, Alexander Calder is the first definitive portrait of the inventor of the mobile.  The one-hour PBS program shows Calder at work in his studio, and features never-before-seen archival films and photographs. It includes contemporary shooting of dozens of works, seen as Calder meant them to be viewed, in dynamic motion. Interviewees include: Arthur Miller, Ellsworth Kelly, I.M. Pei, Brendan Gill, Marla Prather, David Ross, Calder’s daughters and grandson, Sandy Rower, and others.

The film received rave reviews, including Pick-of-the-Week status in People and an A in Entertainment Weekly. Sherman made an appearance on Charlie Rose, during which Rose called the film “an extraordinary American masterpiece.” Legendary agent Robby Lantz said it was “a masterful movie portrait,” and Susan Lacy, executive producer of American Masters, described it simply as “the best artist portrait I’ve ever seen.”

Emmy Award, Outstanding Series, as part of American Masters

George Foster Peabody Award

CINE Golden Eagle

Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival

World Premiere at the Whitney Museum of American Art

Screened at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

Running time: 60 minutes. Format: 16mm film.

Watch the Charlie Rose interview with Director Roger Sherman:

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What the Critics Had to Say

“An American masterpiece.” —Charlie Rose

“[An] incisive documentary. This hour captures the boundless optimism and energy of its subject.” —People

“Director Roger Sherman removes the crust of kitsch from the artist who invented all those pretty mobiles. … Sherman offers beautiful old footage of Calder showing his wire-sculpted toy circus to a group of wowed surrealists, plus an art-historical perspective from interviewees ranging from a garrulous Arthur Miller to eloquent National Gallery of Art curator Marla Prather.” —Entertainment Weekly: A

“Playwright Arthur Miller says Calder’s works are endlessly fascinating. ‘You just feel better for having stared at it for a while.’ The same goes for this portrait.” —New York Post: ***1/2

“Producer-director-cinematographer Roger Sherman and writer Thomas McNamee do a wonderful job exploring and explaining the inspiration behind the artist. Very entertaining. Like Calder’s art, this American Masters special is self-assured and singularly delightful.” —Daily News: ***1/2

“[The National] Gallery show is wonderful. But in a few small ways, this hour-long documentary is even better. We get to see the man and his sculptures in motion.” —The Washington Post

“Only one artist could turn the National Gallery of Art into a giant playroom: Alexander Calder. What brings you closer to Calder’s real purpose, however, is a video by Roger Sherman showing work as it was meant to be seen—in motion.” —New York

“The American Masters production does full justice to the subject and then some. Roger Sherman, the program’s director and cinematographer, captures the exuberance of the man.” —Gannet News Service