Carl Andre

Biography of Carl Andre

The hugely respected American artist Carl Andre radically changed the way sculpture was perceived, heralding a remarkable alteration in the medium by not carving or modelling, but by just positioning raw materials. During his most productive period in the 1960s and 1970s Andre produced sculptures that are now considered to be the most radical of his era. Playing a major role in defining Minimalist Art, Andre describes his works as being "sculpture as place" due to their place-generating properties and by the fact he positioned units on the floor.

 

Carl Andre makes sculpture that the viewer can be present in the same room with but they can ignore if you so choose. Indeed, the sculptures have no form that faces the viewer, instead they are even permitted to walk over the sculptures and occupy the space where the sculptural substance normally resides. His legacy of reducing sculpture to its essential state has had profound influence on Western art and many artists, including Richard Serra, took Andre's radical stance as a keystone for their own practices.

 

Carl Andre was born in 1935 in Massachusetts and has experienced a tumultuous private life, his famous artist wife, Ana Mendieta, fell to her death from their apartment block in New York in 1985. Andre has had solo exhibitions in galleries and museums throughout America and Europe, including a solo show at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in 1970. Famously in 1972 the Tate Gallery purchased Andre's Equivalent VIII—a neat arrangement of fireplace bricks. Highly controversial due to its price, the work was lambasted in the press and became the centerpiece in a debate in Britain about contemporary art. The artist continues to insist on installing all new work in person so that his sculptures can be attuned to their surroundings. Andre is featured in all major art collections and institutions around the world.

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