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Anthony Caro on the Roof

The exhibition is made possible by Bloomberg.

Additional support is provided by Cynthia Hazen Polsky and Leon B. Polsky.

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Anthony Caro and the Onward of Art

Program information

Independent curator and critic Karen Wilkin investigates both the constants in Anthony Caro's creative evolution and his changing concerns about space and scale.

This lecture was recorded on October 14, 2011, in conjunction with the exhibition Anthony Caro on the Roof, on view April 26 through October 30, 2011.

Anthony Caro on the Roof

April 26–October 30, 2011

Sculptures by Anthony Caro (b. 1924)—who is considered the most influential and prolific British sculptor of his generation and a key figure in the development of modernist sculpture over the last sixty years—are featured in the 2011 installation on The Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Roof Garden. The installation includes a selection of sculpture in steel, painted and unpainted, spanning the artist's career to date and highlighting principal aspects of his long career: engagement with form in space, dialogue between sculpture and architecture, and creation of new, abstract analogies for the human figure and landscape.

This year marks the fiftieth anniversary of the first exhibition of steel sculpture by the artist, who lives and works in London. The large-scale works on view this summer are Midday, 1960 (Museum of Modern Art, New York), After Summer, 1968 (Collection of Audrey and David Mirvish, Toronto), Odalisque, 1984 (The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York), Blazon, 1987–90 (Courtesy of Mitchell-Innes & Nash, New York and Annely Juda Fine Art, London), and End Up, 2010 (Collection of the artist, courtesy of Mitchell-Innes & Nash, New York). The installation is situated in the Museum's dramatic open-air space offering unparalleled views of Central Park and the New York City skyline.

About the Artist

Anthony Caro earned a master's degree in engineering at Cambridge University, studied sculpture at the Royal Academy Schools in London, then worked as assistant to Henry Moore in the early 1950s. After his first visit to the United States in 1959, when he became acquainted with the work of painter Kenneth Noland and sculptor David Smith, he moved away from figurative art entirely. He made his first polychrome sculpture, Sculpture Seven, in 1961, and that same year exhibited the only sculpture (The Horse, 1961) in the New London Situation, an exhibition of "situation paintings" held at Marlborough New London Gallery. Caro came to public attention with an exhibition at the Whitechapel Gallery in 1963, where he exhibited large, abstract, steel sculptures brightly painted and standing directly on the ground, so that viewers could approach and interact with the works from all sides; this represented a radical departure from the way sculpture had been presented in the past and was described by the artist as an attempt "to make sculpture more real." Caro's innovative work was complemented by his teaching at St. Martin's School of Art in London from 1953 to 1981, where he influenced a younger generation of British abstract sculptors including Phillip King, Bruce McLean, Barry Flanagan, Richard Long, and Gilbert and George.

Caro often works in steel, but also in a diverse range of other materials, including bronze, silver, lead, stoneware, wood, and paper. Major exhibitions of his work have included retrospectives at the Museum of Modern Art, New York (1975), the Trajan Markets, Rome (1992), Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo (1995), Tate Britain, London (marking his eightieth birthday in 2005), and three museums in Pas-de-Calais, France (2008), to accompany the opening of his Chapel of Light at Saint Jean-Baptiste Church in Bourbourg. He has been awarded many prizes, including the Praemium Imperiale for Sculpture in Tokyo in 1992 and the Lifetime Achievement Award for Sculpture in 1997. He holds many honorary degrees from universities in the United Kingdom, United States, and Europe. He was knighted in 1987 and received the Order of Merit from the Queen in May 2000.

About The Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Roof Garden

The Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Roof Garden opened to the public in 1987. The past thirteen installations have featured large-scale works by Ellsworth Kelly, Magdalena Abakanowicz, David Smith, Joel Shapiro, Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen, Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Goldsworthy, Sol LeWitt, Cai Guo-Qiang, Frank Stella, Jeff Koons, Roxy Paine, and Doug and Mike Starn.

Sandwiches, snacks, desserts, and beverage service—including espresso, cappuccino, iced tea, soft drinks, wine, and beer—are available at the Roof Garden Café and Martini Bar, weather permitting.