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David Smith


'If you want to change your art, change your habits'
Anthony Caro Artist
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Sheila came with me. She stayed for a while, but I went on round to the West Coast where I met Kienholz and Diebenkorn and people like this, and... but Sheila stayed for... for some of the... some of the New York stuff. We stayed at the Chelsea Hotel... no, no, I stayed at the Biltmore, I think. We had a room for two dollars a night up in the roof. It was great. I met a lot of people, you know, and talked to Clem a lot. I had met Clem here by then, and Clem was the one who said, ‘If you want to change your art, change your habits’. So I... that was why I went into... into steel and aluminium and things instead of going into clay, because I had found that I had been trying to go abstract with the plaster and clay and it hadn't worked for me, or trying to get... trying to get away from the figure. I couldn't do it, but then he suggested, ‘If you go into something completely different you'll be forced to... to change’, which was good.

[Q] Is he the main reason you went to America – Clement Greenberg?

No, because I had wanted to go before I met Clem. I wanted to go in '58 and I didn't meet Clem until, I think, the summer of '59, and I went in the autumn of '59. No, and I met Ken Noland there and I met... saw the Noland Show. We got along very well; I got along with Diebenkorn up to a point too, but there was always a distance. I met Rauschenberg and Johns and people but they didn't mean anything to me, particularly... Chamberlain. They didn't mean anything to me. And Nevelson and... Helen was very nice to me: Helen... Helen Frankenthaler and Bob Motherwell were very kind to me. That was when I first met David Smith too.

British sculptor Sir Anthony Caro (1924-2013) came to prominence in 1963 after a show at the Whitechapel Gallery. Keen to create a more direct interaction with the viewer he placed pieces directly on the ground, rather than on plinths, a technique now widely used. He held many honorary degrees and was knighted in 1987.

Listeners: Tim Marlow

Tim Marlow is a writer, broadcaster and art historian. He founded "Tate: The Art Magazine" in 1993 and was presenter of Radio 4 arts programme "Kaleidoscope" from 1991 to 1998, for which he won a Sony Award. He has presented art programme's on BBC 1, Channel 4 and Channel 5, including a documentary about JMW Turner, and written about art and culture for various British newspapers and magazines including "The Guardian", "The Times" and "Blueprint" He is Director of Exhibitions at the White Cube gallery in London as well as a visiting lecturer at Winchester School of Art, an examiner on the Sculpture MA there and former creative director of Sculpture at Goodwood

Tags: New York, West Coast, Sheila Girling, Edward Kienholz, Richard Diebenkorn, Clement Greenberg, Helen Frankenthaler, Bob Motherwell, David Smith, Louise Nevelson, Ken Noland, Robert Rauschenberg, John Chamberlain

Duration: 2 minutes, 9 seconds

Date story recorded: November 2005

Date story went live: 24 January 2008