Friday, June 3, 2011


Midday (1960 by Anthony Caro). Steel. On the Roof at the MET.
Image by The NewsGallery.
New Yorkers know it's spring well into the summer, when the MET Rooftop Garden has unveiled its feature artist of the season to showcase large scale installations--setting and creating the ambiance of a very prestigious yet friendly rooftop bar that hangs above Central Park--at the top of the MET.

Blazon, (1987-90). Steel painted red; on top
of the MET.  Image by The NewsGallery.
Sir Anthony Caro, the impressive and prolific abstract British sculptor, whose still creating some of his best works at age 87, is the feature artist this year.  He's showing some of his most famous works in his long standing art career and had this say about his MET exhibition: "I'm not crazy about sculpture in open air," he admitted at his pre-press opening.  "But I regard this as a special sculpture place."  

Prior to Caro, the list of exceptional large-scale sculptors who've showed on the rooftop of the MET, have made not just a dramatic art scene, but a real splash as one of the hottest summer buzz in the city. In the company of the metal mastermind currently on view are: Jeff Koons, (on the Roof by Jeff Koons [2009]), Maelstrom (by Roxy Paine [2010]), and finally Big Bambu: You Can't You Won't You Don't Stop (by the Starn brothers, Mike and Doug [2011]).

This list of previously mentioned exhibitions, all three being lively and grand, have all been quite different from that of Sir Caro's.  The steel connoisseur, whose sculptures are full of control and restraint, lies at the opposite spectrum of Jeff Koons' recent showing of pop art for example, in which some of Koons' pop-art pieces mimicked the look and feel of larger than life floating parade balloons. 

The distinguished sculptor on the other handhas presented us with just five large sculptures, and although they evoke playfulness, reminiscent of being back in the playground (as pictured right), the MET rooftop now feels slightly bare--especially post the mammoth that was once the Big Bambu, which we admit does take some getting use to.

An innovator, Anthony Caro is renowned for having  re-imagined the idea of the sculpture--freeing it from the plinth (the square base of a statue).  Caro set foot in the art scene in the 50's, when the modernism movement was entering unto its late period. It was then, when the British artist began to show the art world that geometrically inclined paintings didn't have to live on canvas, such as Kandinskys and other abstract expressionist painters: He envisioned each part of his pieces as part of the physical world--directly interact with its viewer. 

Odalisque, (1984) Steel by Anthony Caro on top of
the MET Roof. Image by The NewsGallery
Walking into the MET Rooftop Garden, it immediately becomes apparent that these large sculptures are begging to be touched and played with (pictured right and top right).  No wonder all the attendees insisted on leaning, sitting and playing inside these life sized Anthony Caros.

In fact, the minus in the exhibition is that you aren't allowed to touch, play with, or in the case of Odalisque (right), sit on them--(one side actually looks like it features a bench).  And as a cautionary tale, the no interactive rule, really isn't apparent at all--especially if you constantly have people attempting (and for some moments succeeding) to sit on, lean on and in some instances with kids, they tend to play on the red painted Blazon (top right). 

There's no sign that says: "Please don't touch."  And given how much these pieces of work are actually worth, we're not quite sure why there aren't more protected from the public.  Some of Sir Caro's work have gone for well over a million dollars.  Hence, as inviting as the large geometric figures may appear, please note that they are indeed priceless.  

Although, compared to the overpowering presence of the Big Bambu and Maelstrom, Anthony Caro on the Roof may give off a sense of minimalism and simplicity, one begins to understand that this particular outdoor exhibit is also meant for observing how others can't help but interact with the art, which is ultimately the intent of the artist.  His works have certainly jumped off the canvas and restricted or not, their appearance insist on physical interaction with the physical world, as well as the mind.  "People have asked me to describe what my sculpture is about and I keep on saying its like music,"said the artist, and like the beat of the drum provoking physical movement, "I just happen to use those materials instead of using notes."

Anthony Caro on top of the Roof will be open until October 30, 2011, so be sure to stop by the MET, at least once this summer if you're in New York.  Plus, FYI: there's also the recently added spectacular Alexander McQueen exhibit: Savage Beauty to check out (see HERE).  And as per usual the cocktail bar has a line up of delicious mixed drinks with fruity flavors like, coconut and mango (pictured right respectively)--a perfect New York City treat for a hot summer day.  

MET Museum Hours
Monday: Closed (Except Holiday Mondays)
Tuesday–Thursday: 9:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m.
Friday and Saturday: 9:30 a.m.–9:00 p.m.
Sunday: 9:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m.
See Plan Your Visit for more information, including directions.
MET Museum Address
1000 Fifth Avenue at 82nd Street
New York, New York 10028-0198
Information: 212-535-7710
TTY: 212-570-3828

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