The Pure “Efficacy of A Gesture” vs. The Mere Shouting and Pointing of Directions

Posted: March 5, 2019 in Uncategorized

Sir Anthony Caro
Early One Morning

[Sir Anthony] Caro’s concentration upon syntax amounts, in Greenberg’s view, to “an emphasis on abstractness, on radical unlikeness to nature.” And Greenberg goes on to remark, “No other sculptor has gone as far from the structural logic of ordinary ponderable things.” It is worth emphasizing, however, that this is a function of more than the lowness, openness, part-by-partness, absence of enclosing profiles and centers of interest, unperspiciousness, etc., of Caro’s sculptures. Rather they defeat, or allay, objecthood by imitating, not gestures exactly, but the efficacy of gesture; like certain music and poetry, they are possessed by the knowledge of the human body and how, in innumerable ways and moods, it makes meaning. It is as though Caro’s sculptures essentialize meaningfulness as such — as though the possibility of meaning what we say and do alone makes his sculpture possible. All this, it is hardly necessary to add, makes Caro’s art a fountainhead of antiliteralist and antitheatrical sensibility.

–Michael Fried, “Art and Objecthood” (1967)

John F. Kennedy

Donald J. Trump

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