Sir Anthony Caro’s Park Avenue Series derives from a proposal for a public sculpture programme along three blocks of Park Avenue, New York. While the project faded for financial reasons the designs have evolved as an independent body of work that retains the sense of movement from the scale of earlier project. The exhibition at the Gagosian Gallery, London presents 11 of the 12 works in the series, with River Song, on display at the Museo Correr for the duration of the Venice Bienniale
Steel pipes, beams, disks, and agricultural tools make up Caro’s latest abstract sculptures, which reveal fresh aspects from every viewpoint. The works evolved out of the planning process for an enormous public sculpture he envisioned for a busy thoroughfare in New York City, and as such are prompted by a sense of ground-parallel speed. The long, low pipes of Clouds, for example, create a latitudinal setting for smaller, curved parts that evoke lighter forms moving through space. Solitude is composed of curved and crumpled steel sheets that seem to float around an upright, cannon-like component. Art historian Michael Fried describes the Park Avenue sculptures as “conspicuously open,” an apt characterization given the exciting dynamism they achieve with few parts. Gagosian Gallery
The works are displayed in the minimal white and concrete setting of the Gagosian Gallery, London resembling the dessicated ribs of a wagon train of railway box-cars stripped of their carapaces, or the archaeological remains of a Ballardian space station. It is as though the Mallard, a streamlined locomotive engine of 1948 had been left in a railway yard and it’s structure gradually reduced to a rusted and distressed cage. The evident forms are of the visual language of flow, fluidity and movement, of long pipes for steam, fuel and exhaust, with cylinders, buckets, boilers and water tanks that suggest containers for fluids. Tubes with buffers suggest the movement of shunting. Further shapes indicate fins, circular turntables, a guillotine and grand pianos, with more lyrical interpretations. The steel is bolted and welded, and twisted with lengths of milled sheet steel warped and rippled as though it was a liquid surface. The sense of movement suggests a deconstructed form of Futurist sculpture, as though Umberto Boccioni’s Synthèse du dynamisme humain,1913 (Synthesis of Human Dynamism), had been exploded and rediscovered as a series of new kinetic forms.
Sir Anthony Caro was born in Surrey, England in 1924, and lives and works in London. His work has been shown and collected by museums throughout the world. Major museum exhibitions include “New Sculpture 1960–1963,” Whitechapel Art Gallery, London (1963); “Anthony Caro: A Retrospective,” The Museum of Modern Art, New York (1975, traveled to Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and Museum of Fine Arts, Boston); “Anthony Caro,” Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo (1995); “Anthony Caro,” Tate Britain, London (2005); and “Anthony Caro on the Roof,” Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (2011). He was knighted in 1987 and received the Order of Merit in May 2000. The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue with an essay by art critic and historian, Michael Fried.
Images: ANTHONY CARO – THIRD AVENUE SERIES
1. Torrents, 2012 , Steel, rusted 96 1/8 x 126 x 70 1/8 inches, (244 x 320 x 178cm) © Barford Sculptures Ltd. Photo by John Hammond
2. Towards Morning, 2012, Steel, rusted 118 1/8 x 144 1/8 x 65 inches, (300 x 366 x 165cm) © Barford Sculptures Ltd. Photo by John Hammond
3. Tempest, 2012. Steel, rusted 63 x 103 1/8 x 89 inches, (160 x 262 x 226cm) © Barford Sculptures Ltd. Photo by John Hammond
4. Laughter and Crying, 2012. Steel, rusted 97 3/16 x 220 1/2 x 61 3/8 inches, (247 x 560 x 156cm) © Barford Sculptures Ltd. Photo by John Hammond
5. Morning Shadows, 2012 , Steel, rusted . 92 7/8 x 77 5/8 inches, (236 x 630 x 197cm) © Barford Sculptures Ltd. Photo by John Hammond
6. Clouds, 2012 . Steel . 90 x 229 x 71 inches, (228.5 x 585 x 180.5cm) © Barford Sculptures Ltd. Photo by John Hammond
7. Solitude, 2012, Steel, rusted. 62 3/16 x 165 x 68 7/8 inches, (158 x 419 x 175cm) © Barford Sculptures Ltd. Photo by John Hammond
8. Towards Morning, 2012 Steel, rusted 118 1/8 x 144 1/8 x 65 inches, (300 x 366 x 165cm) © Barford Sculptures Ltd. Photo by John Hammond
9. The Brook, 2012, Steel, rusted. 52 3/8 x 105 1/8 x 53 9/16 inches, (133 x 267 x 136cm) © Barford Sculptures Ltd. Photo by John Hammond
10. Horizon, 2012 , Steel, rusted . 70 1/16 x 158 1/4 x 68 1/8 inches, (178 x 402 x 173cm) © Barford Sculptures Ltd. Photo by John Hammond
11. Wandering, 2012, Steel, rusted . 103 1/8 x 311 x 68 1/8 inches, (262 x 790 x 173cm) © Barford Sculptures Ltd. Photo by John Hammond
12. River Song’, 2011-12, Steel. At the Museo Correr, Venice, 2013.
ANTHONY CARO: PARK AVENUE SERIES. JUNE 6 – JULY 27, 2013. Tue-Sat 10-6
Gagosian Gallery, 6-24 Britannia Street, London WC1X 9JD
T. 44.207.841.9960 F. 44.207.841.9961 E. firstname.lastname@example.org