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Back to Reviews 96

Zinc Ribbon
Antwerp, 1969

racing forms
by p.c. smith
a gallery tip sheet

Carl Andre
at Ace

Feb. 1-March 1997

Dominated by works made between 1966 and 1977 on loan from the Guggenheim Museum's Panza acquisitions, this exhibition still manages a few surprises. For Zinc Ribbon (1969), a three-inch-wide strip of sheet metal is wound in a loose irregular spiral on the floor. Two new, 1997 works--a vertical stack of 18 off-white sand-lime blocks, and a horizontal version of the same--were each shown gleaming dimly in small, unlit rooms. Also shown were photographs by the late Hollis Frampton of Andre sculpture made between 1958 and 1963. These show a progression from Brancusi-like cleft wooden columns to increasingly regular structures of metal. They help one understand the authoritative impression made by Andre's first mature works. Andre's best work activates the space that it is in, and the Ace Gallery's Egyptian tomb sanctums make congenial partners. Unfortunately, both celebrate conspicuous consumption--though only of empty space, in a glorification of passive neutrality. And again: what the world needs now isn't more rectangular grids, but rather an exploration of more fluid architectures.