Carl Andre - Contemporary Art and Design Evening Sale New York Tuesday, March 3, 2015 | Phillips
  • Provenance

    Galerie Konrad Fischer, Düsseldorf
    New York, Sotheby's Contemporary Art, May 6, 1997, lot 108
    Acquired at the above sale by the present owner

  • Exhibited

    Düsseldorf, Galerie Konrad Fischer, Carl Andre: Small Pieces, 1972
    Münster, West Germany, Westfalischer Kunstverein, Carl Andre : die Milchstrasse, der Frieden von Münster und andere Skulpturen, May 8 - June 3, 1984, then traveled to Berlin, Galerie im Körnerpark, Künstlerprogramm des DAAD, (September 16 - October 18, 1984), Munich, Kunstraum München (September 24 - October 31, 1985)

  • Literature

    A. Westwater, Carl Andre - Sculpture 1958-1974, Bern: Kunstalle Bern, 1975, no. 22, p. 60 (illustrated)
    Carl Andre: die Milchstrasse, der Frieden von Münster und andere Skulpturen, exh. cat., Galerie im Körnerpark, Künstlerprogramm des DAAD, Berlin, 1984, p. 34 (illustrated)
    P. de Jonge, Carl Andre, The Hague: Haags Gemeentemuseum, Eindhoven: Stedelijk Van Abbemuseum, 1987, no. 20, p. 58
    Carl Andre Sculpture 1996, exh. cat.,KunstmuseenKrefedler and Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, Stuttgart: Oktagon, 1996, p. 182, p. 251

  • Catalogue Essay

    "A man climbs a mountain because it is there. An artist makes a work of art because it is not there."
    Carl Andre

    Carl Andre has always remained adamant that with the right components a sculpture has the capacity to evolve beyond its initial creation. His materials, beginning with his early wooden block sculptures and shifting towards metals, have defined the scope and purpose of his art; he has remarked, “What my sculpture has in common with science and technology is an enormous interest in the features of materials.”(Carl Andre in D. Marzona, Minimal Art, TASCHEN America, 2009, p. 28) Descending from a family of bricklayers, carpenters, and shipbuilders, Andre was naturally drawn to industrial materials as the source for his sculptures and installations. His utilization of hard, industrial materials and his fascination with the space they inhabit has led him to create stunning floor based works, furthering his investigation of what he has called, “sculpture as place.”

    Along with fellow minimalist artists Donald Judd, David Smith and Dan Flavin, Andre has stressed real space as his actual medium by emphasizing the precise placement of the works within their physical environments. He has famously stated that “Rather than cut into the material, now I use the material as the cut in space.”(Carl Andre in D. Bourdon, “The Razed Sites of Carl Andre,” Art Forum, October 1996, p. 15) Andre has cultivated the floor as his artistic canvas, as art historian Barbara Rose has explained, “To see his [Andre’s] work, you must look neither straight ahead nor up, as colossal public sculpture forces you to do, but down. This is a disorienting experience.”(B. Rose, “The Nature of Carl Andre,” The Brooklyn Rail, July – August, 2014) With the floor as his sculptural platform, Andre positions his raw materials at your feet, a location that was traditionally denounced as the proper and transcendent realm of fine art. His work charts out an intermediate realm between the unadorned space of reality and the rarefied space of art. André has said, “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.” (Carl Andre in D. Bourdon, "A Redefinition of Sculpture," New York, 1978, p. 16)

    The present lot, 32-Part Reciprocal Invention (RS 1971-20) is a powerful example of the artist’s “invention” in space. Composed of 32 steel reinforcing rods, the sculpture has specific installation instructions as to how it should be disposed and arranged on the floor. But the spaces occupied by this work have varied ever so slightly in visual form each time it has been installed. Within the present lot, the steel rods sit gracefully with their cyclical shapes, as though they have just moments ago rolled into their destined positions. Each of the 32 elements is positioned with certain measured intervals between them; the intervals between the parallel rows are determined reciprocally by the length of the rods themselves. The work both adapts to its environment, to the space to which the artist has assigned it, and yet it also alters and defines its surrounding environment. 32-Part Reciprocal Invention implies a temporal process between presence and absence. As critic Barbara Rose has noted, “The central feature of Andre’s sculpture is not permanence but imminence: They exist in the present as sculptures, but suggest both a past and future state of being disassembled.”(B. Rose, “The Nature of Carl Andre,” The Brooklyn Rail, July – August, 2014)

    The carefully selected materials, the realization of innate properties, and the careful arrangement and position of each element form the crux of Andre’s artistic practice. His work is both plain spoken and hyper refined. It seems parsimonious and ever barren. But it is also precisely fashioned and multifaceted in both its perceptual and conceptual implications. He explained in an 1970 interview that he is in a constant struggle to reach the purity of the visual: “What the idea ‘minimal art’ means to me is that the person has drained and rid himself of the burden of the cultural that stands shadowing and eclipsing art. The duty of the artist is to rid himself of that burden. I think it’s an extremely difficult thing to do….I would not say that I have achieved it, because every time you work, you have to do it all over again, to rid yourself of this dross. I suppose for a person who is not an artist or not attempting art, it is not dross, because it is the common exchange of everyday life. But I think art is quite apart from that and you have to really rid yourself of those securities and certainties and assumptions and get down to something which is closer and resembles some kind of blankness. Then one must construct again out of this reduced circumstance.”(Carl Andre in P. Tuchman, “An Interview with Carl Andre,” 1970, p. 59)


32-Part Reciprocal Invention (RS 1971-20)

material: steel reinforcing rod
number and configuration of elements: 32-unit rectangular field on floor, 16 parallel rows of 2 segments with interval each row, intervals between parallel rows determined reciprocally by lengths of segments

constant width overall: 28 3/8 in. (72.1 cm)
This work is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity signed by the artist.

$100,000 - 150,000 

Sold for $100,000

Contact Specialist
Amanda Stoffel
Head of Evening Sale, Contemporary Art
New York
+ 1 212 940 1261

Meaghan Roddy
Head of Sale, Design
New York
+ 1 212 940 1266

Contemporary Art and Design Evening Sale

New York Auction 3 March 2015 6pm