Los Angeles

Carl Andre

ACE Gallery

Carl Andre’s unitary exhibition is likewise cheerful, if you’ve a weakness for Blue Collar Minimal. The piece is comprised of four cold rolled steel “rugs” stationed flush in the corners of a 30 foot square room, leaving a cross-aisle six feet wide on each leg. Each module of the rugs is 24 inches square and each rug runs six modules in either direction. Since the door is in the corner, one must walk on the piece to enter. (In a 1968 Antwerp show, most viewers were intimidated; at Documenta, a lengthy “lever” was promptly trampled.)

I noticed these effects: the piece, constructed as it was for the particular room, commanded the overall space, in which the sculpture seemed slammed down, against the floor, rather than, as is mechanically the case, rising slightly from it. Owing to the above, the piece reads more as surface than as physical matter, coming close to passive, off-hand painting. Two rows of spots point straight down on the units, some faintly purple, some blue-grey, others mottled with rust and scuffs. The piece seems pure, sure, and is better than his earth-worky “pilings,” etc.

The greatest drawback is the gallery itself; the room was constructed for Doug Wheeler’s lighted wall, then “sealed” (or opened) for subsequent other art. The great white cube is capricious and oppressing, rather than the Neo-Bauhaus liberator I fancy it was imagined.

Peter Plagens