Barry Flanagan, no. 5 ’71, 1971, fabric and wood, 25 x 104 x 99".

Barry Flanagan

Tate Britain

Barry Flanagan, no. 5 ’71, 1971, fabric and wood, 25 x 104 x 99".

The British sculptor Barry Flanagan (1941–2009) was best known for the bronze hares he began to produce in 1979, which earned him immediate and lasting commercial success. Despite their popular appeal, these leaping leporids were in many ways detrimental to Flanagan’s critical reputation, eclipsing the seriousness of his contribution to twentieth-century sculpture. Thankfully, this carefully selected and elegantly installed exhibition, “Barry Flanagan: Early Works 1965–1982,” provided an alternative perspective on the artist’s career. Foregrounding his radical sculptural production between 1965 and 1982, curators Clarrie Wallis and Andrew Wilson pursued a subtle line of argument, tracking the playful, organic, and ritualistic aspects of Flanagan’s early work right through to the solitary bronze hare (Large Leaping Hare, 1982) in the final room.

One of the earliest sculptures in

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