Review: Anthony Caro on the Roof, Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC

A few days ago my artist friend Sabina and I went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art for the afternoon.  Sabina is a sculptor who mainly works in marble and I’m a landscape painter.  I’m drawn to the galleries with paintings and she’s drawn to the sculpture exhibits.

We saw many exhibits that day. One of the first ones that we went to was the Anthony Caro sculpture exhibit on the Roof.  

I didn’t find this exhibit very inspiring.  But even Sabina (who is a sculptor)

Anthony Caro (British, b. 1924). Odalisque, 1984, installation view, 2011. Steel; 77 in. x 8 ft. 4 in. x 65 in. (195.6 x 254 x 165.1 cm). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Gift of Stephen and Nan Swid, 1984 (1984.328a-d)

seemed to get bored with the rooftop exhibit fairly quickly. There was one piece that I did find to be very sensuous and alluring, “Odalisque,” which is pictured on the right. The textures of the metal, the curving shapes, and the almost natural patina of the surface gave this piece a wonderful feel.

   We spent maybe twenty minutes browsing through the handful of pieces. I have to admit that it was very hot that day in New York City and we were on the roof in full sun around 2 pm. And so I think that this was the real reason that we didn’t spend much time there.  I even remember Sabina remarking that it was very hot and she was ready to leave.

What I found most interesting about Caro and his story was that he worked with Henry Moore in the 1950’s. I have to be honest and tell you that I didn’t know of him or his work until the day I saw it on the roof.

Each piece was made of steel and was very large. They ranged anywhere from 10 to 15 feet high by about the same wide and deep. A couple were brightly colored red and yellow in enamel paints. And others were dark browns and earth tones.

One of the most impressive things I found about the work was the thickness of the steel. In some instances the steel plates used were a foot or more thick.  Sabina and I talked about this and we wondered what it must be like in his studio handling such large and heavy pieces of metal.  I also wondered what kind of torches or cutting devices you would need to cut such thick pieces of metal.  Obviously, you would have to have some kind of industrial torches or laser cutting devices.

This exhibit as a whole is okay.  I would not recommend that you make a special trip to see this one.  If on the other hand, you are already coming to the Metropolitan to stay for a day then by all means include this on your trip schedule.  The rooftop exhibit area is always inspiring because of the view of Central Park and the New York City skyline.

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About Gary Bolyer Fine Art

I am a New York City-based landscape artist.
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