The Anthony Caro Centre
During a career that spanned more than six decades, Anthony Caro (1924-2013) achieved international recognition as one of the world’s leading sculptors. In 1960, he abandoned his earlier figurative way of working and began making abstract sculptures in welded and painted steel. In a significant departure from tradition, these constructions were placed directly on the ground; dispensing with the convention of presenting sculptures on plinths, they confronted the viewer immediately, producing a one-to-one encounter with objects that were in the world but not of the world. Being abstract, these creations were entirely unfamiliar but possessed a tangible presence. When first shown in Caro’s one-man exhibition at the Whitechapel Gallery, London, in 1963, they caused a sensation, heralding a revolution in the way sculpture was regarded. Caro’s radical, new approach to methods and materials was liberating, and it changed the very idea of what sculpture was - and could be.
By 1970, Caro had achieved pre-eminence. On the occasion of his first solo exhibition in New York, the New York Times observed that he was ‘unrivalled as the most accomplished sculptor of his generation. He is unquestionably the most important sculptor to have come out of England since Henry Moore’. Over the next forty years, Caro continued to explore the unconventional language he had created, developing its expressive potential by probing the boundaries between sculpture and painting, music and architecture. In particular, he was fascinated by interior, contained spaces, constructing works that were not simply for observing but could be physically entered. Having made the case for abstract sculpture, from the 1980s onwards he broadened the scope of his output by combining abstract, allusive and sometimes figurative elements; he also embraced a range of different materials, including bronze, wood, lead, ceramic, paper and Perspex. The scale of his invention extended from small, intimate pieces to multi-part installations, large-scale sculptures for public spaces and architectural commissions. By the time of Caro’s death in 2013, there had been over 130 exhibitions of his work around the world, as well as inclusion in numerous international group exhibitions; his sculpture is represented in the world’s major public and private collections.
The Anthony Caro Centre is dedicated to preserving and promoting Caro’s artistic legacy. Based at the site of his former studio in Camden, north London, the Centre is responsible for exhibiting, storing, conserving and lending the outstanding works in its collection; it also houses the artist’s archive and library. As such, it forms the main platform for the study and appreciation of Caro’s achievements.
© Paul Moorhouse 2023