new-york

Carl Andre

Paula Cooper Gallery | 529 West 21st Street

Can visual art and poetry be one and the same? Displaying 600 pages of writing in vitrines against the gallery walls as though they were drawings certainly frustrates some of the usual desiderata for reading poetry. Carl Andre’s exhibition “Words” consisted of some 600 sheets typed by the artist between 1958 and 1972. The poet’s hand is usually nothing to his poem, and no typeface used to reproduce it is likely to affect the poem’s existence. Though the display of Andre’s poems—as holographic sheets—makes them difficult to read, it does put us in the frame of mind to see them. That they were produced on a manual typewriter doesn’t hurt either; a medium’s obsolescence cues us to see it esthetically. The physical weight of the type bar’s imprint, the density of the ink, and of course the distinction between black and red ribbons—such factors begin to take on quasi-sculptural or pictorial

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