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14.2.05

Joseph Beuys and Anthony Caro in London

There is a blockbuster show at the Tate Gallery in London, Turner Whistler Monet, which opened on February 10 and continues until May 15. That show came to London from the Galeries nationales du Grand Palais in Paris, where it was last fall. Here are some reviews:

Other Reviews

Jonathan Jones, Wounds of history (The Guardian, January 29)

Sean O'Hagan, A man of mystery (The Observer, January 30)

Adrian Searle, The antidote to beauty (The Guardian, February 3)

Jim Ruane, Beuys Show at Tate Modern Is High Mass for Wizard of Rusty Iron (Bloomberg News, February 4)

This crowd-pleasing mammoth has trampled over two smaller-scale but more interesting retrospectives, dedicated to Joseph Beuys: Actions, Vitrines, Environments (until May 2) and English sculptor Anthony Caro (until April 17). On the former, I read a review by Marie-Guy Baron (Beuys rédempteur d'un monde blessé, February 11) in Le Figaro:
Judging by the fascination he holds for the art world nearly 20 years after his death, Josephy Beuys (1921–1986) seems on the road to posterity. By his work that has survived the death of the charismatic artist who gave it life, by the questions that this theoretician of the "broad concept of art" still raises, and by the trouble still posed by this character in a gray zone of his legendary history.
The exhibit focuses on the work from the 1960s to the 1980s, and it sounds like a nice collection of pieces. On Caro, I read another review (La quête vitale de sir Anthony Caro, February 4) from Le Figaro. Here is an excerpt:
Other Reviews:

Anthony Caro: Primary form (The Economist, January 27)

Serena Davies, From monumental glory to a giant metallic sulk (The Telegraph, January 26)


Anthony Caro, Early One Morning (1962)
"I never intended to make something that was not figural. It was really the last thing I ever would have thought of: I remember having said many times that I would never make an abstract sculpture. They're empty and cold like things. And if they're empty and cold things, I had no desire to make them," as Anthony Caro put it in 1985, as part of Conversations with Four Sculptors. This Arianna's web may explain the singular work of the "greatest living English sculptor," 81 years old and a put-on air of Richard Attenborough, a sort of national insular monument to which the Tate Britain retrospective gives a homage full of vitality and harmony.

Nevertheless, it is through his purely abstract work at the beginning of the 1960s, his most familiar period today, that this cerebral man, an engineer by training and later an artist formed in the strictest academic tradition, attained recognition in the New World. The overflowing beauty of his career is recounted in 12 chapters and 50 sculptures. Without ever losing that vital idea, from the first figural years inspired by Picasso, de Kooning, and Dubuffet, under the sensuous light of Henry Moore (whose assistant he was for more than two years), to the musical geometry of his exploration of space, of which Early One Morning (1962) is the perfect evocation, sparkling with freedom and color like an unknown plant (the star of the exhibit at the Whitechapel Art Gallery in 1963).
Both Web sites at the Tate are well done—Joseph Beuys: Actions, Vitrines, Environments and Anthony Caro—with lots of images, so go take a look.

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