Artists

1960-1969

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Provenance

The Artist

with Kasmin Ltd, London

Colin St. John Wilson, 20 December 1967

with Waddington & Tooth Galleries, London, February 1977

André Emmerich, New York

Exhibitions

Cambridge, Arts Council Gallery, Seven Sculptures, 1968, illus

London, Waddington Galleries, British Artists in the Sixties: Anthony Caro, 6 September-1 October 1977, unnumbered exhibition, illus

New York, Ameringer Howard Fine Art, Coloured Sculpture, 16 March-22 April 2000, unnumbered exhibition

Youngstown, Butler Institute of American Art, Paint and Steel, Anthony Caro, 1 July-20 September 2000, unnumbered exhibition, 9 works exhibited

Baltimore, Constantine Grimaldis Gallery, Anthony Caro, A Survey: 1960s through 2000, 15 October-27 November 2004, unnumbered exhibition

Philadelphia, Locks Gallery, Recent Modernist Sculpture, 9 September-8 October 2005, unnumbered exhibition, illus

Literature

Dieter Blume, Anthony Caro, Catalogue Raisonné Vol. III, Steel Sculpture 1960-1980, Verlag Galerie Wentzel, Köln, 1981, cat no.909, illus b/w p200

Description

By the 1960s Caro’s reputation as a radical sculptor, whose work broke with convention, had been established internationally. At the end of the 1950s he had departed from figuration stating, ‘I had decided that it was no longer desirable for a sculpture to be a single object, a metaphor for the human body.’ 1 This rejection of the traditional ‘closed’ monolith form led to one of his most celebrated innovations, in which he eliminated the plinth, placing his sculpture directly on the ground and giving it, ‘the immediacy one feels talking one-to-one with another person.’ 2 Strait is part of a major body of work, dating from the mid-1960s, which is characterised by its commitment to linearity and the exploration and activation of space. In spite of the sheer weight and mass of material, this sculpture has a lightness and energy to it, each element giving the impression of moving through space as if being drawn in the air by a finger. The artist acknowledged this comparison in 1991 commenting, ‘I think the edges of subjects are interesting: where sculpture meets drawing, where sculpture meet architecture- these are borderlines which invite comparison.’ This reductive approach to form, encouraged by Kenneth Noland, allowed Caro to push the concept of the ‘sculptural gesture’ to its farthest edge. As John Canaday of The New York Times wrote in 1967, ‘Using sections of I-beams and other structural steel members as his material, Mr Caro dramatizes their geometrical shapes in structures of stark elegance. One feels that this is an art of reduction by distillation, but there is no loss of force in his spare purity’ 4 In these works, an austerity of form is counterbalanced by Caro’s use of colour, which imbues his sculpture with a painterly sensibility and, suggests an emotive quality and lightness not easily achievable with industrial steel. By using flat, bright commercial colours Caro freed his sculpture from the confines of traditional art history and instead the welded steel elements retain their architectural quality and speak of the building sites and streets from which they came. 1 Anthony Caro exh. cat..Tate Gallery, London, 2005, p11 2 Ibid, p12 3 Ibid, p18 4 William Rubin, Anthony Caro, exh. cat., Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1975, p183