ALEXANDER CALDER, Blue Sun from Conspiracy: The Artist as Witness, 1971
Published by: The Center for Constitutional Rights, David Godine, 1972, Printed by: Shorewood Bank Street Atelier, New York, pub.
Calder's "Blue Sun" is a magnificent six color lithograph on watermarked Arches paper from one of the most desirable and influential eras, the early Seventies. It was proofed by hand by Calder and pulled by machine from zinc plates at the Shorewood Bank Street Atelier in New York. This stunning work was created for the legendary portfolio "CONSPIRACY: the Artist as Witness", published by the Center for Constitutional Rights, to raise money for the legal defense of the Chicago 7, a group of Yippies, radicals and anti-Vietnam War activists indicted by President Nixon's Attorney General John Mitchell for conspiring to riot during the 1968 Democratic National Convention. (1968 was also the year Bobby Kennedy was killed and American casualties in Vietnam exceeded 30,000.) The eight demonstrators included Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, David Dellinger, Tom Hayden, Rennie Davis, John Froines, Lee Weiner, and Bobby Seale. (Bobby Seale was severed from the case and sentenced to four years for contempt after being handcuffed, shackled to a chair and gagged - hence the "Chicago 7".) Although Abbie Hoffman would later point out that these (now famous) radicals couldn't even agree on lunch, the jury convicted them of conspiracy with one female juror declaring the defendants "should be convicted for their appearance, their language and their lifestyle," and another expressing the view that the demonstrators "should have been shot down by the police." All of the convictions, contempt citations and lengthy jail sentences were ultimately overturned by the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. It comes from the original portfolio Conspiracy The Artist as Witness which featured works by Jack Beal, Romare Bearden Leon Golub-Nancy Spero, Sol Lewitt, Robert Morris, Claes Oldenburg, Larry Poons, Bridget Riley, Peter Saul, Raphael Soyer and Frank Stella. It was housed in an elegant cloth case, accompanied by a colophon page and excerpts from the trial itself by the defendants as well as their attorneys William Kunstler and Leonard Weinglass. It is in fine condition, a superb, bright impression, never framed, with desirable deckled edges, so it would look terrific when floated and framed.
Alexander Calder, who scarcely needs any introduction, is synonymous with twentieth century abstract art and is one of the most celebrated American sculptors of the 20th century. In 1952, Calder represented the United States at the Venice Biennale and was awarded the main prize for sculpture. He invented the mobile form by suspending objects in space in the 1930's. Although Calder was best known for his mobiles, he was also also an accomplished print maker. Although Calder was living in Sache, France during the late Sixties and early Seventies, the powerful metaphor evoked by the imagery in "Blue Sun" is a fitting contribution to this historic artists' portfolio for social justice in America. For fans of Calder, and protest art, and for those who still believe in social justice, this iconic print symbolizes a piece of American history!
Signed and stamped; hand signed and numbered from the edition of 150. Bears printers distinctive blindstamp (recto) verso bears copyright stamp of Alexander Calder
Original Portfolio: Conspiracy: The Artist as Witness