Born 1935 in Quincy, MA
Lives and works in New York, NY

Year created:
Carl Andre (b. 1935), Sphinges, 1985

Carl Andre (b. 1935), Sphinges, 1985
sixteen units of eastern pine, overall: 36 x 132 x 132 inches
Private Collection, NY. Installation support has been provided by those who generously raised their paddles at deCordova’s Party for the Park 2014.

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36 x 132 x 132 inches

sixteen units of eastern pine
Private Collection, NY. Installation support has been provided by those who generously raised their paddles at deCordova’s Party for the Park 2014.
Exhibit Date: 
On View Jun 03, 2014 - Oct 01, 2014

No longer on view.

A founder of American minimalism, Carl Andre’s sculptures are simple in form and humble in origin, displaying the organic beauty of the raw materials that he uses to construct them. Originally inspired by his conversations with fellow artist Frank Stella (b. 1938) on space and form, Andre developed a commitment to making objects that were comprised of an assembly of units. Along with the work of other Minimalists such as Donald Judd and Sol LeWitt, Andre’s sculptures from the 1960s onward marked a break with traditional sculpture, redefining the medium from a process of constructing, molding, and carving to one of the simple arrangements of elements. This process rendered artworks free of metaphor, function, or interpretation.  

Andre’s sculpture in deCordova’s Sculpture Park, Sphinges, is comprised of sixteen units of eastern pine placed strategically to form a grid, playing on the name of the piece and the riddle of the Sphinx. The sculpture, in keeping with the rest of Andre’s work, is made of raw materials and is based on masonry construction- the building of structures from individual units, which stresses that the pattern in which the components are placed can significantly affect the durability of the construction. The sculpture reveals the intrinsic beauty of the pine through the repetition of forms and the artist’s exacting placement of the units.

One of the few outdoor works that Andre has created, Sphinges exemplifies Andre’s aphorism, “sculpture as place,” referring to the placement of an object in order to make the space more conspicuous. The sculpture identifies and defines the space in which it is placed and Andre’s use of materials such as wood, steel, granite, brick, copper, and aluminum, solidify these spaces. His methodology not only confirms the sculpture as a focal point but also allows for the area of its placement to become a point of recognition as well.

Carl Andre was born and raised in Quincy, MA and attended Quincy Public Schools and the Phillips Academy in Andover, MA. Andre’s work has been shown in numerous group and solo exhibitions nationally and internationally. His work can be found in the collections of The National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.; The Whitney Museum of American Art, NY; The Solomon R. Guggenheim, NY; The Museum of Modern Art, NY; The Art Institute of Chicago, IL; and The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, TX. Andre lives and works in New York.