PRINT May 1976

Carl Andre: Art Versus Talk

KNOWLEDGE BOTH OF AN ARTIST’S writings and his myth (the things he allows to be said, whether true or not) usually creates friction for the viewer who wants to reconcile them with the visual objects at hand. It is not easy to “dismiss the evidence” when we know the artist thinks one thing and does another. And the artists and their apologists, taking refuge in the time-honored myth of le bête peintre (first attacked by, of all people, Duchamp) have literally felt free to contradict themselves on matters which they present as critically important or vaguely evocative, depending on the context.

Of all the artists involved in public debate concerning fundamental political and societal problems, Carl Andre is perhaps the most complex. He seems to be unsure whether or not he can divorce the verbal and visual, and this leads him into irreconcilable positions. Not only do his visual and verbal

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