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Carl Andre, Steel-copper plain 1969. John Kaldor Family Collection at the Art Gallery of NSW © Carl Andre. Licensed by Viscopy, Sydney

Carl Andre

USA, b1935
From 1960 to 1964, Andre was a brakeman on the Pennsylvania Railroad, assembling boxcars into trains. Shuffling those interchangeable parts seems to have left an impression. Andre’s sculptures are assembled from equally proportioned components, rather than carved or cast. He uses humble materials, such as bricks, wood and metal tiles, with only one kind of material per work. Andre was one of a group of artists who formed the core of historical minimalism in New York.

Steel-copper plain 1969

Andre’s sculptures not only transform their environment, they make you as a viewer more aware of that space. Perhaps the most striking thing about this work is that you may walk on it, so you pay attention to the feel and sound as well as appearance. You might even feel a little anxious. When you’re allowed to touch an object in an art gallery, you cross the normal boundaries that we associate with such places, contradicting our trained social response that literally keeps art at a distance.

View Steel-copper plain in the collection