PRINT Summer 2013


CARL ANDRE’s abstract sculptures helped define Minimalism in the 1960s. Yet his monumental oeuvre of poetry, no less pioneering and prolific, has remained obscure. Now two forthcoming projects promise to reassess the artist’s practice in all its material and conceptual complexity: Tate Publishing is compiling a comprehensive catalogue of Andre’s poetry works from 1957 to 2000, edited by curator GAVIN DELAHUNTY; and a major retrospective of the artist’s work opens next spring at Dia:Beacon. In anticipation of these landmark events, Artforum has assembled twelve poems by Andre, published here for the first time. Introducing this exclusive portfolio in the pages that follow, Delahunty argues for language’s primary role throughout the artist’s six-decade career, offering new terms by which we may understand the radical innovation and narrative experiment of Andre’s poetic enterprise.

ALTHOUGH CARL ANDRE is best known for laconic things—obdurate sculptures made of metal or bricks, laid flat on the floor in symmetrical configurations—he has also made an art of words. Indeed, Andre is a prolific poet, and his poems have always played a crucial part in his work, their brilliant investigations of text and pattern making their way into exhibitions, extremely rare editions, and citations. Yet the poems remain largely unseen and unspoken to this day.

For his written contribution to the catalogue for Kynaston McShine’s now iconic exhibition “Primary Structures: Younger American and British Sculptors” held at the Jewish Museum in 1966, Andre submitted Leverwords, 1966, a poem of four stanzas on a single page. The work is composed exclusively of four-letter nouns, paratactically arranged in a format suggestive of Lever, 1966, the sculpture he was exhibiting in the show:

to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and get the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the PRINT EDITION of the Summer 2013 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.