Anthony Caro


There’s always more to discover in Antony Caro’s sculptures, miraculously refined compositions of sometimes scrappy industrial materials. A seminal British modernist, Caro (1924–2013) extended an aesthetic tradition pioneered by Picasso and David Smith that was out of step with the “what you see is what you see” literalism of so much American sculpture of the 1960s. This exhibition features the artist’s last works—distinguished by the inclusion of plastic forms, elegant apparitions that shoot through or sweep over metallic tangles. These are paired with drawings made in the 1950s, cubistic figures, stooped over as if constrained by the edges of the sheet. Caro’s sculptures also have edges. The artist’s complex swirls of welded metal parts, sometimes interrupted by jagged, angular wooden beams, are confined to discrete sculptural spaces, often delineated by a metal base set on the floor (though never a plinth). The identity of Caro’s materials—wood, metal, plastic—is always apparent, but the discrete parts of his sculptures also seem to take on new roles within the overall work, like individual notes in a piece of music, or words in a sentence. Though resolutely abstract, Caro’s compositions invite metaphor. —William S. Smith


Pictured: Anthony Caro: Sundown, 2013, steel and neutral Perspex, 60â? by 56â?? inches. Courtesy Mitchell-Innes & Nash, New York.