Carl Andre (b. 1935)
14 Rack Row
steel, in 14 units
each: 1/3 x 9½ x 18 7/8 in. (1 x 24 x 48 cm.)
overall: 1/3 x 133 x 18 7/8 in. (1 x 336 x 48 cm.)
Executed in 1968.
Barbara Preisig-Groher, Arlesheim
Galerie Buchman, Basel
Galerie Beaubourg, Paris
Acquired from the above by the present owner, 1988
P. de Jonge, ed., Carl Andre, exh. cat., Haags Gemeentemuseum den Haag and Stedelijk van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, January-March 1987, p. 30, no. 20.

Lot Essay

This work is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity signed by the artist.

An excellent and rare example of Andre's early work, 14 Rack Row cuts through the space that contains it. Blazing a path in fourteen units of rolled-steel, 14 Rack Row is a geographic terrain that captures Andre's assertion, "Most of my works-- certainly the successful ones-- have been ones that are in a way causeways-- they cause you to make your way along them or around them or to move the spectator over them. They're like roads, but certainly not fixed point vistas. I think that sculpture should have an infinite point of view. There should be no one place or even a group of places where you should be" (C. Andre, quoted in A. Bourdon, A Redefinition of Sculpture, exh. cat., New York, 1978, p. 27).

Myriad influences are combined and distilled into Carl Andre's breakthrough minimalist works like 14 Rack Row. From the sea harbors and quarries of his childhood surroundings, to his teenage visit to Stonehenge; from sharing studio space with Frank Stella to his work on the railroads during the early 1960s - these influences all converged and collided to allow for Andre's introduction of novel ideas of space, sculptural form and material.

Always concerned with placement, Andre's pieces consciously articulate the space in which they are situated. Departing from the tradition of chiseling and cutting away at matter to create sculpture, Andre decided that "rather than cut into the material," he would "use the material as the cut in space." He developed a mathematical grammar that takes nothing away from the material itself, but works like Brancusi's Endless Column , through simple permutations in space. Andre's sculptures are nonetheless paradoxical: they are usually made up of a substantial mass of material that clearly asserts its physical presence but yet has no significant volume.

Andre's floor pieces are flat, modular, and made of ordinary materials; they thus challenge all traditional preconceptions of sculpture as a three-dimensional object executed in marble or bronze. Their flatness, however, by no means diminishes their presence. As the artist states: "I don't think of them as being flat at all. I think in a sense, that each piece supports a column of air that extends to the top of the atmosphere. They're zones." (C. Andre, quoted in R. Lauter, Carle Andre, Extraneous Roots, Frankfurt-on-main, 1991, p. 17). For this reason Andre describes these works as "plains" (rather than "planes") to call attention to their role in creating a place that can, in fact, be entered.

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