Comments on: Anthony Caro 1924-2013 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: Patrick Jones Sat, 23 Nov 2013 21:52:56 +0000 Tony Caros leaving is an immensely sad occasion for me . Tim Scott,whose tribute I most related to, spoke about his humanity as a person. I shall miss bumping into him at a private view and his gruff warmth.He was as curious about people as he was about art and always made you feel special.I am convinced he wanted to be Picasso,endlessly inventive and inovative. It was only when he wanted to be profound that he came unstuck,and began to illustrate his ideas about war etc.He was a wonderfull draughtsman and lyricist.With him gone ,and his closest friends ,John Hoyland and Helen Frankenthaler,who shared his commitment,the world is poorer place,as they were artists of top ranking .Its up to us all to come across with the goods now,if we think we can.As they say on the Irish stage after a standing ovation ,FOLLOW THAT.

By: David Sweet Fri, 22 Nov 2013 08:51:56 +0000 It is good to read these sincerely felt tributes to Anthony Caro. I met him several times and have written about his work, which I admired, but wouldn’t claim to have known him very well on a personal level. The following remarks are just a few thoughts prompted by his death.

Writing in the Guardian, Jonathan Jones called Caro ‘the wrong kind of modern artist in the wrong kind of modern world,’ and went on to compare the cultural standing of the sculptor who made Early One Morning in 1962 to that of Andy Warhol, whose Campbell’s soup can exhibition happened the same year. The difference was framed in terms of whose work turned out to have better defined their times, and ours. Warhol won the zeitgeist argument, I think, by predicting the triumph of consumerism.

But in 1962, Caro and Warhol, along with the Beatles, who had released Love Me Do as a single, arguably represented the same cultural spirit, namely ‘pop’. By that I mean they sought to harness the energy and animation of the everyday in order to liberate art from the academic and moribund state into which it had fallen.

Appropriating soup can imagery, singing about the love lives of teenagers, and assembling structures from scrap metal and painting them red were different ways of trying to get life into art. What was important about Caro, and the Beatles of this period, was that they succeeded. Caro’s sculpture of the sixties is expressively animated, far too animated to perch on a plinth. But Warhol’s approach was also dynamic. However, instead of bodily gesture, which guides both Caro and Lennon (I’m thinking of the heavy petting references in Please Please Me), what underlines its dynamism is a mechanical/industrial movement, coming through in the repeated grid format.

Working inside the optimistic English culture of the sixties, Caro was able to continue with the idea of animation, but Warhol was an American. His work was overtaken remarkably quickly by events. John Kennedy was assassinated in 1963 and a couple of years later the Vietnam War casualties began to rise. Warhol’s work, which was initially pro-life, soon became the centre of a cult of death, marked by an almost medieval preoccupation with eschatology, reflected in images of bombs, electric chairs, car crashes, and grieving widows.

It is Caro who comes across as the ‘sculptor of modern life’, and so maybe seems a bit of a contemporary cultural embarrassment. The problem is that ‘life’ is not cool, not the way ‘death’ is. Caro’s actual death is the polar opposite of what his work stands for: Warhol’s death or Lou Reed’s for that matter, are somehow already embedded in their respective artistic brands. Caro’s ultimate worth may be better judged when the idea of ‘life’ becomes cool again, like it was in the sixties.

By: Rob Willms Fri, 22 Nov 2013 03:38:50 +0000 Thanks to all the contributors here, for making public your private reminiscences about Sir Anthony Caro. Speaking boldly for all that mass of us whose deep admiration for the man and his work is at so much greater a remove, these various vignettes are deeply appreciated.

The praise for Caro’s sculpture and person resonates, and want not to diminish those perfect expressions. I did, however, benefit from my own short visit with the man at Barford studio mid-October this year.

Walter Early and I were to meet Peter Hide for an 11:30 appointment with Anthony Caro, but as the Overground happened to be closed there we each had to find alternate transportations from our separate lodgings. My route was ill-chosen, and I arrived in the studio lane at 11:31 short of breath and sweating. A young assistant met me first and walked me over to find Peter and Walter, who’d not yet appeared, and I followed him into first the Barford studio, then the gallery, then an office where Sir Anthony was seated at a desk. After I’d whipped the cap off my beading brow and we were introduced, he observed, “It’s much warmer here than in Canada, I recall.”

But for being located in London, I was surprised to find Caro’s studio relatively humble in size and operational scale, and considering the depth, width and breadth of his work all the more impressive for being such a small site. The pieces in progress were yet one more unexpected material variation on what I felt otherwise to be his recognizable visual vernacular.

Tea-time with Tony, Peter, Walter and Patrick Cunningham provided fascinating entertainment as Tony and Pat asked by name after the health and welfare of almost every Edmonton sculptor (and some of their spouses & kids) that they’d met during visits here (the latest of which was in 1995, I’m told) and at other Triangle workshops that Alberta artists had participated in. I was struck by Tony’s insistent and unabated curiosity about folks, so many of whom I know. He expressed mild consternation that I’d come so far to see London but had left my family behind.

My flight home was for that afternoon, so while the four of them arranged to head downtown to visit Pete and Walter’s two-man exhibit in Soho I prepared to quit to find a cab for King’s Cross station, Heathrow and home. But Tony wouldn’t have it – as it was raining, I was to ride with them – five broad-shouldered sculptors in one Ford Focus. I demurred further on account of my height and the inconvenience a detour would cause, but was firmly overruled. So it was that Pete and Tony sandwiched Walter in the backseat and from the front I was witness to a brilliant fifteen minutes of collegial banter across four generations and three nationalities.

All to say, there was much to emulate in the man. And I aim to.

By: john bjerklie Thu, 21 Nov 2013 02:52:32 +0000 Thank you Anthony Caro.

By: Sam Wed, 20 Nov 2013 17:56:46 +0000 Thanks Ryan. The choice was a bit of mixture – some prompted by what the contributors referred to; and some others sent from Caro’s studio. Apart from these I picked Garland because it was one of the stronger sculptures I saw in Venice, as was a sculpture related to the Emma piece illustrated above. Forum was a sculpture I lived nearby for a few years, whilst After Olympia shows huge ambition, and was a precursor of the larger project in which the sculptures recently shown at Gagosian originated.

By: Ryan Wed, 20 Nov 2013 14:55:17 +0000 Thanks to the contributors, and AC for publishing these memorials.

I’m curious about the selection of images: all well chosen, major works (I have a soft spot myself for Caro’s small table pieces and writing pieces.)

Were these chosen by the contributors, or simply by the editor?

In either case, well done.