At Art Basel, Carl Andres Galore

Photos by Andrew Russeth
Zinc, 96 x 96 x 1/4 inches
Plastic angles (81-unit diamond), 2 3/4 x 27 x 20 inches.
Hot rolled steel, .39 x 180.11 x 180.11 inches
24 Scottish red sandstone bricks, 3 3/8 x 67 x 16 1/8 inches
Steel, 33 1/2 x 23 x 2/3 inches
Aluminum, 13 3/4 x 13 1/4 x 3/8 inches

As The Art Newspaper noted last week, painting dominated Art Basel Miami Beach 2011.

Reporters Georgina Adam, Charlotte Burns and Riah Pryor argued that was because dealers were playing it safe: compared with sculpture (to say nothing of video or installation art), paintings are relatively easy to ship–and sell. Not every collector has room for another large Thomas Houseago piece, though most can find room for a new painting.

But there was perhaps one exception: the New York artist Carl Andre, whose work felt omnipresent, hiding around every corner. We once felt a strange shakiness under our feet and found that we were standing on one of his steel pieces.

This popularity makes sense. Mr. Andre’s floor sculptures are relatively easy to ship (just wrap, stack and box them) and pose little demand on collectors (just yank out a rug for a moment and replace it with an Andre). The artist also has a retrospective coming up at Dia:Beacon in 2013, his first museum retrospective in the United States since 1970. In addition, nine of the artist’s top ten auction prices have come in the past five years, according to Artnet.

What’s more, Mr. Andre was the subject of Calvin Tomkins’ first profile in many months in The New Yorker last week, which not a few people Gallerist ran into mentioned reading on the plane ride to Miami–not bad advertising for the Andres on offer in the fair’s booths, a selection of which are visible in the slide show above.

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