Not on View

Arcata Castor

Photo Credit: Rich Sanders, Des Moines

Arcata Castor

Artist: Carl Andre (American, born 1935)
Date: 1983
Medium: Western cedar timber
Dimensions:
Overall (each timber)): 36 x 12 x 12 in. (91.4 x 30.5 x 30.5 cm.)
Overall1 (installed): 48 x 36 x 36 in. (121.9 x 91.4 x 91.4 cm.)
Credit Line: Des Moines Art Center Permanent Collections; Gift of John and Mary Pappajohn in honor of the Des Moines Art Center's 60th Anniversary and Jim Demetrion, 2008.27.a-.g
Accession number: 2008.27.a-.g
Classification: sculpture
Copyright:VAGA
In Collection(s)
Label TextI have one great talent. That is choosing great materials and getting out of the way. …I’m a matterist. That’s entirely what I’m interested in, the property of materials and not interfering with those properties. —Carl Andre A leading member of the Minimalist movement, Carl Andre creates sculpture that features readymade or found industrial materials, the use of modular components in geometric structures, and an equal emphasis on positive and negative space in his configurations. For more than 40 years, squares, cubes, lines, and grids have dominated a body of work composed from a variety of media including fire bricks, cedar blocks, and metal plates. Andre’s concentration on industrial materials can be traced to a number of sources. Growing up in Quincy, Massachusetts, his tinkerer-father worked in the shipyard, where on the weekends the two prowled for discarded materials. Also, from 1960 to 1964, Andre worked as a freight brakeman and conductor in New Jersey on the Pennsylvania Railroad, which was “a great mine of materials. Endless cars of scrap metal would go through and a lot would fall off the trains.” The artist humorously referred to this activity of procuring free source materials as “night requisitioning.” Andre has created a number of sculptural works made up of equal-size sections of timber (resembling railroad ties) in different configurations. The designated arrangement of the seven western cedar blocks in Arcata Castor assumes the form of two symmetrical post-and-lintel arches linked by a single post lying on the floor. The twin-arch form relates to the title—arcata suggests an archaic variation on the word “arch” or “arcade,” while castor refers to the mythological figures of Castor and Pollux, the heavenly twins of the Gemini constellation. Andre’s poetic titles often draw from ancient languages to extend a specific aura to his primordial sculptural forms.
entirely unexpected