Anthony Caro’s Late Works: The Life and Process of Sculpture

Anthony Caro, Torrents, 2012

Anthony Caro, Torrents, 2012. Steel (rusted), 244 x 320 x 178 cm. Private collection © Barford Sculptures Ltd. Photo by John Hammond. Courtesy Gagosian.


Anthony Caro’s Late Works: The Life and Process of Sculpture

December 9, 2016
The Dr. Anne Tanenbaum Gallery School

When Sir Anthony Caro (British, 1924-2013) experienced his artistic breakthrough in 1960, he redefined the medium of sculpture. Moving beyond the practice of casting in bronze elaborately modelled, figurative sculptures resembling the work of Henry Moore (British, 1898–1986), Caro began to weld and to bolt prefabricated steel and aluminum elements into configurations that have been interpreted by some as pure abstractions. Caro continued to create abstract sculptures up to his death in 2013. Four of his late works, some of the most ambitious the artist has ever produced, are installed in Anthony Caro: Sculpture Laid Bare, an exhibition organized by the Art Gallery of Ontario.

Caro once said that art is “about living.” Join us for a conversation about how Caro breathed life into the medium of sculpture with Julius Bryant, Keeper of Word & Image at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, UK, Caro’s former studio assistants Patrick Cunningham and Jon Isherwood, and New York-based curator and critic Karen Wilkin. The panel will be moderated by exhibition curator, Kenneth Brummel, the Art Gallery of Ontario’s Assistant Curator of Modern Art, and introduced by Paul Caro, the artist’s son. While the focus of the discussion will be on Caro’s studio practice and on his late works, the entire span of this artist’s long and influential career will be considered.

This event is presented in conjunction with the exhibition Anthony Caro: Sculpture Laid Bare. Roundtable participants will offer audience members a tour of the exhibition after the discussion.

Roundtable participants:

Julius Bryant has curated four exhibitions of Anthony Caro’s work, including Trojan War (Kenwood House, UK, 1994) and Caro: Close Up (Yale Center for British Art, Connecticut, USA, 2012). Most recently he has contributed the essay, “Caro Encore: Color and Line,” to the catalogue of the current exhibition of Caro’s work in New York at Mitchell Innes and Nash. His publications also include Anthony Caro: A Life in Sculpture (2004), Anthony Caro: Figurative and Narrative Sculptures (2009) and the entry on Caro in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. He is Keeper of Word and Image at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, UK, where he manages the collections of drawings, designs, photography, posters, watercolours, paintings, the art of the book, the archive of art and design, and the National Art Library.

Patrick Cunningham met Anthony Caro in 1968, when he was working for an engineering company in West Hampstead, UK. Caro visited West Hampstead to have a sculpture fabricated, and he returned to the engineering company to ask Cunningham to become his assistant in 1969. Cunningham later became studio director for Barford Sculptures / The Caro, Girling Studio, London, UK, working with Caro on every major sculpture. Cunningham’s experience and expertise in engineering as well as the ease with which he handles steel enabled Caro to work more freely and more creatively. Cunningham continued as lead assistant until Caro’s death in 2013. Today Cunningham works to maintain the Caro legacy.

Jon Isherwood is professor of sculpture at Bennington College, Vermont, USA. He studied at Leeds College of Art, UK, Cantebury College of Art, UK, and Syracuse University, New York, USA. His work has been widely exhibited in public museums and private galleries around the USA, Canada, Europe and China. He is the recipient of a Jerome Foundation Fellowship, Pollock-Krasner Foundation grant, and an honorary doctorate from the State University of New York at Plattsburgh, USA. In addition to several solo exhibitions, his work has been featured in group exhibitions at the Peggy Guggenheim Museum, Venice, Italy, the McNay Art Museum, San Antonio, Texas, USA and the Kunsthalle Mannheim, Germany. He has lectured at numerous colleges and universities in the USA and Europe, and is the founder of the Digital Stone Project.

Karen Wilkin is a New York-based independent curator and critic specializing in 20th-century modernism with a particular emphasis on sculpture. Educated at Barnard College and Columbia University, she has written extensively on David Smith and Anthony Caro and has organized exhibitions of their work internationally. In addition to her 1991 Caro monograph for Prestel and various exhibition catalogues, she contributed the main essay to Anthony Caro: The Chapel of Light, which accompanied his 2008 project in a French 13th-century church, and wrote Anthony Caro: Interior and Exterior, which was published by Lund-Humphries, London, UK, in 2009, part of a five volume series on Caro that Wilkin edited. She is contributing editor for art for the Hudson Review and a regular contributor to The New Criterion and the Wall Street Journal. Wilkin teaches in the MFA program of the New York Studio School.

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