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Taylor Zakarin

Anthony Caro (British, 1924-2012)
River Song, 2011-2012
Steel, rusted
92 15/16 x 139 x 85 1/16 inches
Nancy A. Nasher and David J. Haemisegger Collection


One of the most notable works on view at NorthPark Center is Reclining Figure: Angles by British sculptor Henry Moore. The piece has a rich history that I will delve into in a later blog post - this week, however, I am focusing on the two works just around the corner from Reclining Figure: Angles. Between Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom stand two impressive pieces by Moore’s former assistant, Anthony Caro. Caro (1924-2012) came into prominence in the 1960s for employing found steel and industrial objects in abstract sculptural compositions, often painted in a single, bright color. Traces of Moore’s influence on the artist are evident in Caro’s use of heavy materials, and his dynamic juxtaposition of the organic and geometric abstractions.

This particular sculpture, titled River Song, is one of a series of works Anthony Caro did late in his career. Both River Song and the work nearby, titled Clouds, come from Caro’s Park Avenue Series, where the artist was invited to place works of sculpture on the broad, grassy medians of Park Avenue in Manhattan. Unfortunately, the project was abandoned due to growing financial costs – but New York City’s loss is our gain! Caro channeled his disappointment into reconfiguring the sculptures he had planned for Park Avenue into several large, abstract, autonomous works of art. Caro intended the works to be viewed by people driving by in their cars, as well as pedestrians strolling along the avenues; however, in NorthPark Center there is the added pleasure of being able to view them from the second floor above, further revealing the variety of materials Caro incorporates in his sculptures.

This sculpture is a huge hit with the school groups that come through NorthPark on educational tours. Though the work is rather abstract, the titles encourage the viewer to find objects or meaning in what they are looking at as it relates to the title. While observing and studying River Song, viewers have “found” boat sails, pianos, drums, and a bevy of other instruments and water-related imagery in the piece. I hope you enjoy it as much as countless students seem to have!