Carl Andre

Andre's Shooting a Script renders accounts of a Wild West gunfight as a cubist textual narrative.

Carl Andre is today best known as one of the founders of Minimalism, but he has also engaged in a parallel practice as a poet. Andre's poems are characterised by the way in which they isolate words from syntax, and from larger sets of words (often derived from a particular historical source). These isolated units are subjected to repetition, gridding and other arrangements, emphasising their materiality; Andre is especially drawn to nouns and proper names, words that emphasise their properties as 'things'. There is a clear relationship between Andre's poetry and his sculpture of the mid-to-late 1960s, the period in which he was developing his material language of stacked, gridded and modular structures.

Shown here are five pages from a seventeen page poem by Andre entitled Shooting a Script, a project he began in the mid-1970s. In Andre's words, "The main event of Shooting a Script is a mutually fatal gunfight that took place in Waco, Texas on April Fool's Day, 1898. From a text presenting 17 eyewitness accounts of the bloody encounter, I have created a clastic reweaving of voices. The result is a Cubist-fugue rendition of the homicidal episode that reduces the orderly recollections of the witness to the panic and chaos of the event itself."

Carl Andre was born in 1935 in Quincy, MA. He studied art at Phillips Academy, Andover, MA , and moved to New York in 1956. Andre first showed his sculpture publicly in 1965, and in 1966 his work was included in the seminal show of Minimalist art at the Jewish Museum in New York, entitled Primary Structures. Andre's poems became widely exhibited only later, and were the subject of an exhibition at Lisson Gallery, London, and the Museum of Modern Art, Oxford, in 1977.

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