The minimalist cover of Yale University Press’ new catalogue for artist Carl Andre uses a version of one of his text-based artworks from the 1960s to introduce the larger body of work inside…
On the cover, the words that appear in the five line Preface to My Work Itself (1963) are simply arranged by length – from “in” to “interchangable” – and offer a playful way into Andre’s work.
The piece itself treats the words as objects of different sizes and – as a cover device – lets the reader arrange them into statements which may, or may not, be relevant to his wider body of work in abstract sculpture.
So “my art is made of the same stacked broken pieces; the work piled, interchangable” could be one way of ordering half of the words, for example.
It’s an interesting way of getting the reader to categorise Andre’s work – much of it having garnered its fair share of both positive and negative reaction over the fifty years he has been working (the controversy generated by The Sunday Times over the Tate’s acquisition of Andre’s firebrick piece, Equivalent VIII, in the 1970s being an infamous case in point).
In addition to ten essays, the book includes images of many of Andre’s sculptural pieces made from materials such as timber planks, concrete blocks and plates of metal, alongside concrete poetry, postcards, letters and documents relating to the installation of many of the artworks.
Carl Andre: Sculpture as Place, 1958-2010 by Philippe Vergne and Yasmil Raymond is published by Yale University Press; £45. See yalebooks.co.uk. Details on the Dia Art Foundation exhibition in New York are here.