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Carl Andre

Carl Andre

*  1935 Quincy/ Massachusetts

The American sculptor and object artist Carl Andre is one of the most important representatives of Minimal Art
Born in Quincy/Massachusetts in 1935, Carl Andre studied at the Phillips Academy in Andover between 1951 and 1953 and went on several journeys to England and France after his graduation. At the end of the decade he met an artist who should have lasting impression on the young Carl Andre: Frank Stella. His "Black Series", as well as the oeuvre of Constantin Brancusi inspired Carl Andre to try out sculpting, and soon he made his first large wooden sculptures.
In the first half of the 1960s Carl Andre worked a day job as conductor and shunter at the Pennsylvania Railroad, at times this job is seen in close connection with his groundbreaking artistic development. At first Carl Andre created complex layers of bars, as it is the case with his "lumber object" at Museum Ludwig in Cologne, and finally developed a completely new innovative kind of sculpture: the "floor sculpture" ("Element Series"). Carl Andre arranges formalized basic elements in a strictly minimalist style in serial order on the ground, thus creating "horizontal sculptures". Accordingly, the sculpture has been transformed from an object to an identifier of a location, which Carl Andre knows how to put into subtle relationship to the viewer and the surrounding space.
The materials of the "floor sculptures" are diverse, besides polystyrene plates he used pieces of wood or bricks, steel, lead, magnesium, aluminum, zinc and copper.
The basic idea of Carl Andre's art also has an important social dimension: Just as the materials are standardized and available for everyone, the execution is a simple, technically reproducible act, which can easily be performed by "non-artists".
With its innovative sculptures Carl Andre, who also created important paintings and graphic works, soon gained great fame as key figure of Minimal Art. His first solo exhibition in New York (1965) was followed by documenta participations (1968, 1982) and numerous major international shows. Works by Carl Andre can be observed in major museums around the globe, among them the Finnish National Gallery, Helsinki, the Kunsthalle Hamburg, the Musées des Beaux- Arts in Brussels, the SMAK Ghent and the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis.