Comments on: Henry Moore : Late Large Forms at Gagosian King’s Cross Abstract Critical is a not-for profit company aiming to establish a new critical context for all generations of artists involved with ambitious abstract art. Sun, 09 Nov 2014 17:23:33 +0000 hourly 1 By: Terry Ryall Sun, 17 Jun 2012 13:10:33 +0000 Perhaps I could add a modest anecdotal slant to the less-than-favourable views of Henry Moore’s sculpture expressed by John Holland and Robin Greenwood.
As first-year sculpture students at Wimbledon School of Art, in 1973, we were set a project to make a piece of work in the style of somebody whose work we didn’t like. Without hesitation I set about making a caricature of one of Henry Moore’s ‘holed’ reclining figures. I couldn’t have articulated in any meaningful way what exactly it was that I dis-liked so much about his work as I knew little about sculpture of any sort. I did however, with that certainty that is ever associated with the young, know what I liked even if I didn’t know why and of course I knew I wasn’t wrong in such judgements!

Growing up in suburban London in the 1960′s offered many and varied pleasures. Being interested in art I regularly visited the commercial galleries in Mayfair (such places held no fear for a spotty-faced youth from a council-estate) and saw really exciting work by,amongst others, Larry Poons, Tom Wesselmann, Barry Flanagan (pre-hare). Their work seemed of that time, my time, as opposed to the dark, lumpy, stodgy sculptures of Henry Moore which seemed remote. I had also seen Anthony Caro’s Early One Morning somewhere in a Mayfair gallery (probably Gimpel Fils) and loved it. As with my dis-like of Moore’s reclining figures I couldn’t have said why I liked Caro’s piece so much. To someone in their late teens it probably just looked sexily modern and space-age.

With the benefit of the passage of time I would readily concede that my judgements were for sure based on shallow assessments, almost certainly on appearances alone. But then, as other contributors to Abstract Critical have asked (and probably more eloquently than I) what else is there about a work of visual art that is more meaningful than its visual appearance?

By: Robin Greenwood Sat, 16 Jun 2012 10:52:43 +0000 ‘…designs made manifest…’, ‘…portentous mannerisms.’ – I’m queasy just looking at the photographs. As the 2010 Tate show demonstrated, the older Moore got, the more tenuous his grasp of three-dimensions became. Even the big late wood-carvings, where you would think that the material might exert some kind of rigour, had so much redundant ‘stuff’ in them (to call it ‘mass’ would be something of a travesty) as to make for a lamentable waste of good wood. Anything sculptural in late Moore is, as John Holland rightly implies, designed out of existence; view follows unrelated view, and, despite the mannerism of the holes, there is little that is spatial about them. Moore is by and large as decidedly an ‘un-visual’ artist as they come, and this show looks as gruesome as anything I’ve seen. So poor are some of these works as visual structures that they can only be defended by a wholly romantic and subjective contextualisation.
Still, nice to have a (very good) essay about sculpture.