Writing Piece: Cease (Primary Title)
“I didn’t want them to be anything, to have the graspability of a figure or a statue. They had to be something that you really took time to understand visually and emotionally." —Anthony Caro
Caro’s work is marked by its expressive use of abstract forms and close attention to the relationships among parts. In the 1960s, he was known for large welded steel sculptures—some brightly painted—that sat directly on the floor. The absence of a base placed the work squarely in the viewer’s space, involving him or her more directly.
In the 1970s, Caro took the opposite course, making small “table pieces” such as this. His challenge was to create works that would not be misinterpreted as models for larger works and to keep them grounded in actual rather than imaginary space once set atop a plinth. The “writing pieces,” a calligraphic subset of the table pieces, tend to hug the supporting surface closely, and the swoops of their horizontal lines mimick the feel of writing in their tension and release. The shapes that make up this work recall drill bits, old saw blades, and woodworking tools further addressing the real scale of the human hand.
Contemporary Sculpture in the Collection of the VMFA, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, VA, June 25 - August 11, 1991
The Mysterious Suspicion: After Magritte, Bedford Gallery, Longwood College, Farmville, VA, January 17 - February 19, 1988
Late Twentieth Century Art from the Sydney and Frances Lewis Foundation Collection, Allen Priebe Art Gallery, University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, Oshkosh, WI, January 27 - March 15, 1981; Morehead State University, Morehead, KY, August 31-October 16, 1981; Columbia Museum of Art, Columbia, SC, November 15, 1981 - January 10, 1982; Mississippi Museum of Art, Jackson, MS, January 31 - March 14, 1982; University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN, March 28 - May 30, 1982; Worcester Art Museum, Worcester, MA, September 10 - October 31, 1982; Allentown Art Museum, Allentown, PA, November 14, 1982 - January 16, 1983; University Memorial Gallery, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY, January 30 - March 13, 1983; Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, NY, March 25 - May 29, 1983; Randolph-Macon Woman's College, Lynchburg, VA, November 6 - December 17, 1983; Muscarelle Museum of Art, College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, VA, February 4 - April 14, 1984; Huntington Galleries, Huntington, WV, June 2 - August 19, 1984; Piedmont Arts Association, Martinsville, VA, February 27 - March 27, 1985; The Athenaeum, Alexandria, VA, May 7 - June 2, 1985
Anthony Caro: Writing Pieces, Andre Emmerich Gallery, New York, NY, Novembe 10 - December 1, 1979
Some object records are not complete and do not reflect VMFA's full and current knowledge. VMFA makes routine updates as records are reviewed and enhanced.