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February 19, 2004

Carl Andre at Paula Cooper Gallery, NYC

Carl Andre
Lament for the Children
Paula Cooper Gallery, New York

February 20 - April 3, 2004

The Paula Cooper Gallery presents Carl Andre’s Lament for the Children. The work will be on view at 534 West 21st Street from February 20 until April 3, 2004.

Lament for the Children consists of one hundred concrete blocks standing vertically in rows of ten at the intersections of a grid. The sculpture was originally created and exhibited in the abandoned playground at P.S.1 in 1976, for the Contemporary Art Center’s inaugural show, ‘Rooms’. The grid formation of the piece was derived from the interval between the joints in the paving of the playground. Lament for the Children was subsequently destroyed and remade in 1996 for an exhibition at the Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg in Germany. This exhibition marks the first time the piece has been shown in New York since its creation in 1976.

Possessing a somber presence, the piece bears a visual resemblance to a field of gravestones, or an army of sentinels in grid formation. Besides relating to the piece’s original location in a children’s playground, the title Lament for the Children refers to a seventeenth-century Scottish dirge about the death of five children by fire. The tune, composed for the bagpipe by Patrick Mor MacCrimmon, has been described as the greatest single line melody in European music, and Andre’s reference to it suggests his admiration for traditional and classical culture. This is Andre’s second use of the title: in 1965, he composed the three-page poem 144 Times, which bore the parenthetical title Lament for the Children.

Carl Andre was born September 16, 1935, in Quincy, Massachusetts. From 1951 to 1953, he attended the Phillips Academy, Andover, with Frank Stella and Hollis Frampton (with whom he shared a lasting interest in poetry). In 1957, he settled in New York and shortly thereafter began to create wood sculptures influenced by Brancusi. He progressively moved on to the use of sets of identical elements, and to materials such as granite, limestone, steel, lead and copper. His sculptures, often floor pieces, tend to depart from the traditional principles of sculpture such as verticality and monumentality.

Andre’s first one-person show was held in 1965 at the Tibor de Nagy Gallery, New York, and the following year his work was included in Kynaston McShine’s and Lucy Lippard’s seminal exhibition Primary Structures at the Jewish Museum. He was, with Donald Judd, Dan Flavin and Sol Lewitt, one of the leading artists of the 1960s, often associated with Minimalism. In the 1970s, the artist created large installations, such as 144 Blocks and Stones (1973) for the Portland Center for the Visual Arts, Oregon, and outdoor works such as Stone Field Sculpture (1977) in downtown Hartford, Conn.

Andre’s work has been the subject of several retrospectives, most notably at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, in 1970; the Laguna Gloria Art Museum, Austin, Texas, in 1978; the Whitechapel Art Gallery, London, in 1978; the Stedelijk Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, in 1987; the Haus Lange und Haus Esters, Krefeld and the Kunstmuseum, Wolfsburg, in 1996; and the Musée Cantini, Marseilles, in 1997. He lives in New York.

Paula Cooper Gallery
www.paulacoopergallery.com