“My work is atheistic, materialistic, and communistic. It is atheistic because it is without transcendent form, without spiritual or intellectual quality. Materialistic because it is made out of its own materials without pretension to other materials. And communistic because the form is equally accessible to all men.”
– Carl Andre
Andre was born in 1935 in Quincy, Massachusetts. From 1951 to 1953, he attended the Phillips Academy, Andover, where he studied art under Patrick Morgan. After a brief enrollment in Kenyon College, Gambier, Ohio, Andre earned enough money working at Boston Gear Works to travel to England and France in 1954. The following year, he joined United States Army Intelligence in North Carolina. In 1957 he settled in New York and worked as an editorial assistant for a publishing house. Shortly thereafter, he began executing wood sculptures influenced by Constantin Brancusi and by the black paintings of his friend Frank Stella.
He was a leading member of the Minimalist movement, which coalesced during the early to mid-1960s. In addition to making sculpture, he also began to write poems in the tradition of Concrete Poetry, displaying the words on the page as if they were drawings. From 1960 to 1964, he was a freight brakeman and conductor for the Pennsylvania Railroad in New Jersey. Andre’s first solo show was held in 1965 at the Tibor de Nagy Gallery, New York. In the 1970s, the artist prepared numerous large-scale installations, such as Blocks and Stones in 1973 for the Portland Center for the Visual Arts, Oregon, and outdoor works, such as Stone Field Sculpture in 1977 in Hartford. He continues to emphasize material and spatial specificity.
Notable among the many retrospectives of his work are those held at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, in 1970; the Laguna Gloria Art Museum, Austin, Texas, in 1978; the Stedelijk Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, in 1987; the Museum of Modern Art, Oxford, England, in 1996; the Musée Cantini, Marseilles, in 1997; the Open Air Museum Middelheim in Antwerp, in 2001; and Kunsthalle Basel, in 2005. Andre lives and works in New York.