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Carl Andre (1935-)
Twenty-Ninth Copper Cardinal
Overall: 3/16 × 20 × 20 in. (0.5 × 50.8 × 50.8 cm) Overall: 3/16 × 580 in. (0.5 × 1473.2 cm)
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Purchase, with funds from the Gilman Foundation, Inc. and the National Endowment for the Arts
Rights and Reproductions Information
© Carl Andre/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY
Carl Andre’s Twenty-Ninth Copper Cardinal is composed of twenty-nine identical, interchangeable square copper plates set on the floor, thus challenging the basic premises of traditional sculpture—its verticality, above all. Laid down next to each other, the unattached plates abut a wall at one end. The work belongs to the series Copper Cardinals, which Andre began in 1973. All are composed of square plates, arranged in linear format if the number of units constitutes a prime number (for example, twenty-nine), or in rectangular format if it does not. Andre, who wanted the viewer to walk on his floor plate pieces, referred to the long format of Twenty-Ninth Copper Cardinal specifically as a “causeway”: “They cause you to make your way along them or around them or to move the spectator over them.” For the viewer, walking the sculpture’s length, either toward or away from the wall, is a performative act. In the context of a museum, where touching works of art is prohibited, standing on a sculpture is unexpected and transgressive.