Anthony Caro

Hayward Gallery

Hayward Gallery, 24 January – 9 March 1969

Anthony Caro (1924–2013) was the first living British sculptor to have a one-man exhibition in the Hayward Gallery. The exhibition – which featured more than 40 works situated across the gallery’s upper and lower floors, as well as the three outdoor sculpture terraces – was also the artist’s first retrospective. The exhibition was selected by Michael Fried, an art critic and art historian who had been an early admirer of Caro’s work.

The newly-opened Hayward Gallery was well- suited to Caro’s sculpture. In the accompanying catalogue, the Arts Council’s Director of Art Gabriel White celebrated the fact that ‘for the first time the connected spaces and staircases of the building are used to provide view and visual surprises that the architects envisaged’.

Caro himself declared that ‘I know of no other gallery space so beautifully suited to showing large sculpture.’

Hayward Gallery’s three outdoor sculpture terraces were used for the first time during this exhibition. The works exhibited on the terraces included First National (1964), Green Sleeper (1965), Midday (1960), Span (1966), Lal’s Turn (1964) Month of May (1963) and Strip (1965).

As well as Caro's large-scale works, the exhibition included the artist's smaller 'Table Sculptures'. These were exhibited in the upper galleries.

The accompanying catalogue featured an extensive essay by the show's selector Michael Fried.

In their reviews of the exhibition, many critics commented on the relationship between the work and the architecture of the gallery.

Paul Overy, writing in the Financial Times, argued that ‘the bright, clear industrial colours of Caro’s sculptures manage to fight the almost intractable grey concrete bunker of this gallery in a way in which the subtler and more sensitive work of Matisse and Van Gogh was not able to do', while Christopher Salvensen, writing in the Listener, claimed that the gallery was the 'ideal setting' for Caro's sculpture.

Following his solo show at Hayward Gallery in 1969, Anthony Caro went on to take part in many group exhibitions within its walls, including Hayward Annual 77 (1977).

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