Initiated in the late 1960s, Andre’s first, pivotal ground works represent a landmark moment within the development of twentieth century sculpture. Discarding expectations of verticality, representational forms, or even pedestals that have defined centuries of a canonical tradition, Andre’s composition instead seeks formal elegance within scrupulous simplicity; seemingly elementary in gesture yet radical in vision, these sleek metallic compositions reconfigure our conception of sculpture in their unprecedented placement upon the floor. Asked to describe the impetus behind his sculptures on the occasion of his first solo exhibition at Tibor de Nagy Gallery, New York in 1965, Andre stated a single, central aim: “to seize and hold the space of that gallery.” (The artist cited in Anne Rorimer, “Ground Rules” in Ibid., p. 281) Indeed, arranged neatly before the viewer in a delicate yet insistent grid, Lead-Lead Plain irrefutably manifests itself within the viewer’s lived experience, investigating and describing the space in which it exists. Although its strict economy of means invokes the Minimalist tradition of such sculptors as Donald Judd and Sol LeWitt, Lead-Lead Plain enacts a more fundamental challenge to tradition than that of his contemporaries: unlike Judd and LeWitt, whose sculptures investigate the essential terms and means of sculptural objects, Andre’s floor-bound forms confront the very concept of sculpture as hallowed object itself. Reflecting upon Andre’s unique and pivotal place within art history, one scholar describes: “Incontestably, Andre is a primary founder of Minimal art, whose reductive principles he helped to establish along with Donald Judd, Sol LeWitt, Robert Morris, and Anne Truitt, among other prominent figures. Less obvious, however, is the affinity Andre’s Squares have with works by an overlapping generation of artists generally classified under the rubric of Conceptual art…In its all-encompassing redefinition of sculpture, Andre’s work stands at the threshold between—or at the crossroads of—Minimalism’s adherence to the production of material objects and Conceptualism’s project to do away with palpable materiality.” (Anne Rorimer, “Ground Rules” in Ibid., p. 282) Rather than express or reference forms within space, Andre’s sculptures express the very space itself: allowing viewers to walk over, around, and within them, Lead-Lead Plain intervenes with our experience of the environment we ourselves occupy. His reorientation of sculpture upon the horizontal plane, where it functions as place, rather than object, has had an extraordinary and lasting influence upon the development of twentieth century art; as described by sculptor Richard Serra, whose monumental freestanding metal sculptures likewise invite interaction with the viewer, notes: “He changed the history of sculpture.” (Richard Serra cited in Calvin Tomkins, “The Materialist,” The New Yorker, November 27, 2011, n.p.) In his abandonment of preconceived sculptural norms, Andre’s project is perhaps best aligned with that of his predecessor, Constantin Brancusi, whose radical forms likewise interrogated the weighty expectations of tradition. Reflecting upon the affinity between the two, one scholar concludes: “If Constantin Brancusi literally took sculpture off the pedestal, Andre figuratively took Brancusi off his pedestal by fully and uncompromisingly assuming his legacy, and all the consequences of his legacy, with respect and radicality.” (Philippe Vergne, “Carl Andre and Alden Carr: The Sculptor, the Poet, and the Forger” in Ibid., p. 231)
Please call 1-800-555-5555 to order a print catalog for this sale.
Online Registration to Bid is Closed for this Sale. Would you like to watch the live sale?Watch Live Sale