Critics’ Picks

Aroma, 1966.

Aroma, 1966.

Los Angeles

Anthony Caro

Daniel Weinberg Gallery
6150 Wilshire Blvd.#8
September 10–October 22, 2005

Sir Anthony Caro has gradually emerged as the great anti-hero of 1960s sculpture. The popular historical nutshell places Caro at the end of a formal trajectory later derailed by minimalist revolt, despite the best efforts of anti-“literal” evangelist Michael Fried. Reality is more complex, of course, and sculptors such as Charles Ray have gained traction in synthesizing the Brit with, say, Donald Judd. Rarely seen in Los Angeles despite enormous local fervor for formal sculpture, Caro suddenly appears in two complementary gallery exhibitions. Daniel Weinberg features two works hovering between animation and inertia: Bearing, 1967, in which a long, extruded “L” cantilevers from four spindly legs sequestered at one end, and Aroma, 1966, in which a steel screen stands up with the almost-effete assistance of various thin steel extrusions. Defying the standard historical account, these oddball sculptures suggest an unexpected influence on “post-minimalist” hardware-store aficionados such as Robert Grosvenor, Alan Saret, and Bill Bollinger. (Picture Aroma prior to welding or painting and you’ll get the idea.) Down the block, Marc Selwyn exhibits five later works, dated 1976 to 1983, four of which are compact “tabletop” sculptures. More elaborate, “organic,” and fussy, these works feel assured but lack the punch and offhand humor of what preceded them. Still, both exhibitions afford emerging Los Angeles-based formalist adherents an opportunity to review their family trees.