Published: November 6, 2012
With a career spanning more than 60 years, Sir Anthony Caro (b 1924) is Britain’s most acclaimed sculptor since Henry Moore. On view to December 30, the Yale Center for British Art is premiering an exhibition bringing together more than 60 works by the artist. Featuring early drawings †many of which have rarely or never been exhibited †and small-scale sculptures in a range of media dating from the 1950s to the present, the exhibition is drawn almost entirely from Caro’s studio and family collections, with key loans from the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
This selective survey is the first major exhibition of Caro’s work to be conducted in an American museum since his retrospective at MoMA in 1975.
Parallel with “Caro: Close Up,” the center will display Modern and contemporary works from its permanent collection by artists whose practices either influenced or dramatically diverged from those of the sculptor and his peers.
A pivotal figure in the development of sculpture for more than half a century, Caro is represented in major museum collections around the world, and his work has been exhibited internationally. Having begun as a maker of figurative sculpture, Caro dramatically transformed his art in 1960, following an extended visit to America, where he encountered the work of Kenneth Noland, Jules Olitski and David Smith. The series of large-scale abstract constructions he created in the 1960s became his signature works and launched him as a major Modernist sculptor. Championed early on by the American critic Clement Greenberg, his art became as well known in America as in Britain, and his career was transatlantic from the outset.
The exhibition begins with Caro’s early figurative drawings and sculptures and traces his development as an abstract artist in steel and his later incorporation of a wide range of materials in collage-like sculpture. Although Caro made his name with large-scale constructions, famed for their abandonment of the pedestal, he continued to make smaller, even intimate works, which demand a different approach and working process. The exhibition reveals how he grappled with problems of scale and display without returning to old conventions.
Drawing has always been central to Caro’s practice, not for designing sculptures, but as another part of his private work. Usually stored in the studio archive, only a handful of his drawings have ever been exhibited. Those selected for “Caro: Close Up” range from life studies made when Caro was a student at the Royal Academy and annotated by Henry Moore, for whom he worked, to expressionistic studies of bulls and bestial figures dating from the early 1950s. Shown together with the small-scale sculptures, these works provide fresh insight into the visual research behind Caro’s more familiar, abstract art.
The center is at 1080 Chapel Street. For more information, www.yale.edu/ycba or 203-432-2800.
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