"All I'm doing is putting Brancusi's 'Endless Column' on the ground, instead of in the sky. Most sculpture is priapic with the male organ in the air. In my work, Priapus is down on the floor. The engaged position is to run along the earth." -- Carl Andre
Among the most innovative artists of his generation, Carl Andre is celebrated for his Minimalist sculptures that have come to define artmaking in the 1960s and ‘70s. The Way East and South lacks any texture, narrative content, or trace of the artist’s hand, and it epitomizes Andre’s signature style. Executed in 1975 during an era when many sculptors were questioning the authority of the pedestal, Andre pushed the boundaries of art-making even further by installing his works directly on the ground. With such a radical move, Andre undermined traditional artistic values and begged viewers to reconsider how to interact with works of art as they are presented in the gallery space. Experiencing sculpture with the body, and not only enjoying its optical offerings, was at the core of Andre’s mission. Before Andre began working, few could have imagined that sculpture could consist of ordinary, unadulterated materials arranged into straightforward compositions and set directly on the ground. The Way East and South is not only visually compelling, but it is a philosophically loaded work that requires viewers to reflect on the relationships between works of art, the installation space, and how our bodies mediate ways in which art is experienced.
Often praised for his parallels to the work of twentieth century master, Constantin Brancusi, Andre is lauded for his ability to similarly pare down works of art to their geometric essentials. Andre never fails to arrest viewers with his simple, but not limited, artistic ingenuity.