As a pioneer and preeminent member of Minimalism, Carl Andre’s groundbreaking work challenges the inherent qualities of the three-dimensional object. The purity of his sculpture divorces all relations to function, metaphor and emotion. He creates profoundly simple pieces that draw attention from their external conditions to the viewer’s perception of the object and its surrounding space. By simplifying his dialogue with the viewer, Andre emphasizes the importance of art within its space, because, in the artist’s own words, “the essence of art is human association.”1 To ensure a personal encounter with his works, Andre’s sculptures avoid superfluous forms. They invite exploration of the viewer’s field of vision and its perceptual consequences.
Andre exhibited Fall at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, in 1968.2 By employing modular units and ready-made materials, the artist articulated both positive and negative space. Nearly forty years later, Andre produced a work that replicates and expands the sculpture’s fundamentals. ACE Gallery presents Rise (2011), a 21-unit row of hot-rolled steel angles extending 49 feet along the gallery wall.
Rise is the culmination of a career devoid of associative, referential and non-hierarchic compositions—a pure form. The flatness of Rise neutralizes the sheer immensity of the sculpture until the viewer grasps its reality. Once this understanding is processed, Rise impresses a sense of immediacy for physical and intellectual contemplation. The artwork’s material, visual, and spatial qualities create a site-specific experience for viewers to discover, explore, and interpret. Andre assembles ordinary materials in a way that creates endless bounds of imaginary energy.
In March 2013, Dia Art Foundation will organize the first North American retrospective of the work of Andre. The exhibition will mark the most comprehensive presentation of Andre’s work in the United States since a 1970 exhibition at the Guggenheim. The retrospective will comprise a broad range of sculpture made over the past fifty years, including the artist’s emblematic floor and corner pieces, highlighting Andre’s radical use of standardized units of industrial material such as timber planks, concrete blocks, and metal plates, among others. It will also feature a vast selection of Andre’s poems, which echo and extend his geometric accumulations beyond the three-dimensional realm.
Carl Andre was born in 1935 in Quincy, Massachusetts and has exhibited with ACE Gallery since 1969. Andre has since solidified Minimalism’s position in twentieth century art history alongside Sol LeWitt, Donald Judd, and Dan Flavin The artist lives and works in New York City.
1. Tomkins, Calvin. "The Materialist: Carl Andre's Emient Obscurity." The New Yorker
Dec. 5, 2011.
2. Rider, Alistair. Carl Andre: Things in Their Elements. London: Phaidon, 2011.
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