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Fred Sandback

I met the sculptor Fred Sandback through my partner in Artforum and copublisher Amy Baker, though I only got to know him after they married in 1982. He was a shy, kind, wryly humorous bear of a man, with the look of someone who wanted to be anywhere else but in the middle of an art-world function. He was an outdoorsman who loved to travel but was happiest and most at home in the woods and lakes around Rindge, New Hampshire, where his family had a house and where he spent much of his time.

When we first met I knew his work only through illustrations, which give little sense of its quality. I remember thinking that Fred’s meager materials—taut lengths of acrylic yarn—pushed the definition of sculpture. I also remember being amused later when I heard that his new sculptures were no longer made only with monochrome yarn but could now be multicolored. It’s easy to be flip about such minimal art:

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