CARL ANDRE (B. 1935)
CARL ANDRE (B. 1935)
CARL ANDRE (B. 1935)
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This lot has been imported from outside of the UK … Read more PROPERTY FROM AN EMINENT BELGIAN COLLECTION
CARL ANDRE (B. 1935)

Aluminum-Aluminum Plain

Details
CARL ANDRE (B. 1935)
Aluminum-Aluminum Plain
aluminium, in thirty-six parts
each: 12 x 12 x 3/8in. (30.5 x 30.5 x 1cm.)
overall: 72 x 72 x 3/8in. (183 x 183 x 1cm.)
Executed in 1969
Provenance
Virginia Dwan Gallery, New York.
John Weber Gallery, New York.
Private Collection, Belgium (acquired from the above in 1973).
Thence by descent to the present owner.
Literature
P. Schjeldahl, ‘High Priest of Minimal’, in The New York Times, 18 October 1970, pp. 23 and 28 (as part of 37 Pieces of Work installed at Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in 1970, illustrated, p. 23).
Carl Andre Sculpture 1958-1974, exh. cat., Bern, Kunsthalle Bern, 1975, p. 47, no. 47 (as part of 37 Pieces of Work installed at Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in 1970, illustrated, p. 42).
D. Bourdon (ed.), Carl Andre Sculpture 1959-1977, exh. cat., Austin, Laguna Gloria Art Museum, 1978 (as part of 37 Pieces of Work installed at Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in 1970, illustrated, p. 33).
Carl Andre: Die Milchstraße Der Frieden von Münster und andere Skulpturen, exh. cat., Münster, Westfälischer Kunstverein, 1985 (as part of 37 Pieces of Work installed at Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in 1970, illustrated, p. 44).
C. Andre, R. Sartorius and P. Sarmina, Carl Andre, exh. cat., The Hague, Haags Gemeentemuseum Den Haag and Eindhoven, Stedelijk Van Abbemuseum Eindhoven, 1987, p. 42, no. 50 (as part of 37 Pieces of Work installed at Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in 1970, illustrated, pp. 44-45; installation view at Whitechapel Art Gallery in 1978, illustrated, p. 47).
CARL ANDRE SCULPTOR 1996, exh. cat., Krefeld, Museum Haus Lange, 1996, pp. 176, 178, 247 and 262 (as part of 37 Pieces of Work installed at Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in 1970, illustrated, p. 177).
J. Meyer (ed.), Cuts: texts 1959–2004 / Carl Andre, Cambridge 2005 (as part of 37 Pieces of Work installed at Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in 1970, illustrated, p. 141).
A. M. Gingeras and J. Bankowsky (eds.), “Where Are We Going?” Selections from the François Pinault Collection, Milan 2006 (as part of 37 Pieces of Work installed at Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in 1970, illustrated in colour, p. 33).
A. Rider, Carl Andre Things in Their Elements, London 2011 (as part of 37 Pieces of Work installed at Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in 1970, illustrated in colour, p. 79).
M. Piranio and J. Sigler (eds.), Carl Andre: Sculpture as Place, 1958–2010, exh. cat., New York, Dia: Beacon, 2014-2017 (as part of 37 Pieces of Work installed at Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in 1970, illustrated, pp. 38-39).
Exhibited
New York, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Carl Andre, 1970-1971 (as part of 37 Pieces of Work, installation view illustrated in colour, p. 56). This exhibition later travelled to Saint Louis, Saint Louis Art Museum.
London, Whitechapel Art Gallery, Carl Andre: Sculpture 1959-78, 1978, p. 33, no. 13 (installation view illustrated, pp. 1, 4 and 7; as part of 37 Pieces of Work installed at Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in 1970, illustrated, p. 21).
Special notice
This lot has been imported from outside of the UK for sale and placed under the Temporary Admission regime. Import VAT is payable at 5% on the hammer price. VAT at 20% will be added to the buyer’s premium but will not be shown separately on our invoice.
Further details
This work is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity.

Brought to you by

Claudia Schürch
Claudia Schürch Senior Specialist, Head of Evening Sale

Lot Essay

Held in the same family collection for the past half-century, Aluminum-Aluminum Plain (1969) is a seminal floor sculpture by Carl Andre. It consists of thirty-six aluminium plates, each of them twelve by twelve inches, arranged in a six-by-six grid. The viewer is invited to walk over its surface. This is Andre’s vision of ‘sculpture as place,’ which formed one of the most radical innovations in twentieth-century art. Working without a studio, Andre assembled his works on-site using prefabricated units of material. Unattached to one another and unmodified by welding, carving or coating, these components were simply aligned according to their dimensions and presented in their pure, elemental state. The present work began life as one element of 37 Pieces of Work, the monumental floor piece Andre created for his landmark 1970 exhibition at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York. That sculpture was subsequently disaggregated into thirty-six separate works, which Andre called ‘plains.’ In 1978, Aluminum-Aluminum Plain was included in Andre’s first solo show in the United Kingdom at the Whitechapel Gallery, London. It has been unseen in public since.

Andre’s retrospective opened at the Guggenheim in September 1970, when he was just thirty-five years old. He created 37 Pieces of Work, today considered the masterpiece of his career, to be shown on the museum’s floor. The work was made of 1,296 tiles of the six most commonly-used metals from the periodic table—aluminium, copper, steel, magnesium, lead and zinc—with each metal arranged singly or paired with another, according to all thirty-six possible combinations. Its first row consisted of six single-metal units, beginning with the section that would later become Aluminum-Aluminum Plain. The 37th piece in the title referred to the total ensemble. Reviewer Peter Schjeldahl called it ‘the pièce de résistance, a mammoth and gorgeous 36‐foot‐square mat … The presence of 37 Pieces is more theatrical than that of any other Andre, but in the way they act upon one’s sense of the environment, nearly all his works might justly be termed theatrical. They are designed less to be looked at than to be felt—a sort of mild yet emphatic perturbation in one’s perceptions of a given place’ (P. Schjeldahl, ‘High Priest of Minimal’, The New York Times, 18 November 1970, section D, p. 2).

Andre’s metal floor works were the apotheosis of his artistic project. After on-off studies at Andover and Kenyon College, where he developed a keen interest in modern poetry, he had moved to New York in 1958. His first sculptures, which he made in the studio of his friend Frank Stella, were pyramidal wooden structures that reflected the influence of Stella’s minimal paintings and the totemic forms of Constantin Brâncuși. Between 1960 and 1964, Andre worked as a brakeman in the railroad yards between Jersey City and Newark. He made little art during this period, but the experience of shunting, breaking down and assembling freight trains transformed his understanding of space, mass and material. His breakthrough came in the summer of 1965, on a boat trip on a lake in New Hampshire. Looking at its glassy surface, he decided that his sculptures would no longer be stacked but as smooth and level as water.

Andre created floor sculptures in an array of raw, uniform and symmetrically arranged units of material, including lumber, bricks, and Styrofoam planks. He also wrote poems and librettos, which played with the weight and texture of words. Alongside Stella, fellow Minimalists Donald Judd and Dan Flavin, and the metal-crushing sculptor John Chamberlain, he was a charismatic figure in the art crowd that gathered to drink and debate at Max’s Kansas City. He showed his first flat metal works at Dwan Gallery in 1967. Taking sculpture off its pedestal and making it horizontal was a revolutionary move, and the works had enormous impact.

Andre is one of the few artists called Minimalist to have accepted that term as a descriptor. He identifies a sense of freedom that comes from working within limits. He has distanced himself, however, from the label of conceptual art: his work is grounded in materials, not in ideas. ‘It is exactly these impingements upon our sense of touch and so forth that I’m interested in’, he said in 1970. ‘… It has to do with life as opposed to death and a feeling of the true existence of the world in oneself. This is not an idea’ (C. Andre, quoted P. Tuchman, ‘An Interview with Carl Andre’, Artforum, Vol. 8, No. 10, Summer 1970, p. 60). Despite the apparent austerity of his works, there is a hedonism in Andre’s engagement of sculpture as place—as a zone of sensory experience. In some ways, he might even be understood as a landscape artist. Andre once compared his sculptures to roads. They invite the spectator’s movement, and welcome the gentle weathering of their materials. The term Plain in the present work’s title invokes both an outward simplicity and a flat, wide-open terrain.

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