PRINT September 1970

Caro’s Abstractness

ORANGERIE, ONE OF THE MOST ravishing sculptures Caro has ever made, is also one of the most nearly pictorial. Unlike most of his pieces it appears to comprise a number of discrete and rather highly characterized shapes, whose mutual juxtaposition, while not actually establishing a single plane or a succession of planes, seems nevertheless to imply the kind of planarity we associate with painting. (It is right that Matisse has been mentioned in connection with Caro’s recent work. The affinity between Orangerie and the art of Morris Louis, for example the so-called Aleph paintings of 1959, might also be noted.) And yet how un-pictorial Orangerie finally is. The chief rounded shapes delineate themselves above all by twisting in space. Its seeming planarity is in the end decisively subverted by the angling and arcing—the rapid, curved-versus-straight cursiveness in depth—both of individual

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