Los Angeles

Carl Andre

Dwan Gallery

Carl Andre’s biggest, newest floor sculpture is at Dwan. It is made of 1,232 uniform grey concrete bricks, each 7 5/8'' x 15 5/8'' x 1 1/8". They form a huge, room-sized rectangle with eight un-uniform rectangular islands created by the absence of bricks. It is called Cuts, and it is meant to be walked on. It is quite literally an environment. It is not a space: it is a place. It is delimited and defined as an accessible entity not by its outer edges but by the islands in its interior. People don’t stand in the islands.

The materiality of this work transcends itself. The fact that large quantities of concrete bricks are so familiar in everyday life—whether in walls, or terraces or bookcases—does not make one perceive this particular assembly of them as “found objects.” The bricks come to feel like such a natural part of the room that they are in one sense not experienced as a work of art. And yet, unlike our perception of a wall-to-wall carpet, they demand to be constantly noticed. A category of apperception opens up which is somewhere between full consciousness of object-entity against subject-entity (how we perceive most art works) and virtual unconsciousness of environment (the living room carpet). It puts us in a more relaxed relationship to the artwork than we are accustomed to. This might not be true if the bricks were painted. One feels the full measure of his own weariness with l’emballage when he is in this room.

Four small floor sculptures are in another room at Dwan. These are 49 10'' x 10'' weathered steel plates, arranged in a square; 16 12'' x 12'' slabs of slate, also forming a square; 12 3'' x 4'' aluminum plates, in the shape of a rectangle; and 21 small aluminum bricks laid end to end in a line.

Cuts should not be thought of as simply an extended version of Andre’s smaller floor sculptures. It is much more than this. Andre has clearly applied knowledge gained in the days when he was stacking things, as well as what he knows about placing things side by side or end to end on the ground.

––Jane Livingston