Steel-Zinc Dipole (E/W)
Steel and zinc
39 3/8 × 39 1/4 × 3/16 in. (100.01 × 99.7 × 0.48 cm)
Each: 39 3/8 × 19 5/8 × 3/16 in. (100.01 × 49.85 × 0.48 cm)
The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles
Gift of Gilbert B. Friesen in honor of Jeremy Strick
One of the most significant aspects of Carl Andre’s Steel-Zinc Dipole (E/W) is that it has no pedestal. Because it occupies the same space as its viewers, this sculpture behaves less like art and more like an ordinary object in the world. Viewers are even allowed to violate the museum’s hallowed rule “do not touch” and walk on the sculpture. Traditionally, the pedestal helped to isolate art from the viewer, making it seem separate or placing it in an autonomous realm. But minimalist sculptors like Andre planted their work directly on the floor in order to draw attention to the continuity between the artwork and the surrounding space. By inviting viewers to make physical contact, to listen to the sounds they make when stepping on plates of different densities, and to use their own bodies as a measure of scale, Andre shifts emphasis away from the centrality of art toward the relationships between object, viewer, and gallery.