Project for the Bronx Zoo

Project for the Bronx Zoo

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1939 was a busy year for Calder, during which he worked on a variety of projects. You are in front of two of the five models that Calder created at the request of Wallace K. Harrison’s architectural firm, which was planning a new African habitat for the Bronx Zoo in New York City. The project was spearheaded by the young architect Oscar Nitzchke, and Calder was asked to create a series of sculptures, a sort of imaginary flora that would become the setting for the actual fauna. According to his worlds:

“We even envisioned having the visitors walking through an
armored tube. My objects, I felt, could replace the trees, and -since they would be made of iron- they would be immune to the animals’ claws.”

The architect’s ideas were rejected by the zoo and with them Calder’s sculptures, so we will never know what the reaction of the animals would have been. But if the sculptures had been made, can you imagine it? How would the animals have reacted? Do animals have aesthetic sensibility?
While you think, move a little towards the showcases that are on both sides of the room and we will continue with the story.

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