Stone Field Sculpture Content from the guide to life, the universe and everything

Stone Field Sculpture

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The Minimalist artist Carl Andre (born 1935) has produced to date only one permanent public work of sculpture. It is called Stone Field Sculpture, and sits on a lot at the intersection of Main and Gold Streets in Hartford, Connecticut, USA. As it sits in the open it is accessible to the public at any time of day.

Carl Andre's Work

Andre's sculptures tend to involve simple elements - bricks, for example, or stones - arranged simply and without any subjective content. A notable early work, Equivalent VIII (1966), which is owned by the Tate Gallery in London, consists of 120 firebricks arranged in a long, low rectangle. Andre's sculptures tend to hug the ground, an unusual quality in sculpture. They also tend to excite unfavourable comment; abstract art usually does that.

The Sculpture

Stone Field Sculpture, which was created in 1977, consists of eight rows of boulders in a triangular shape, so that the first row contains one large boulder, and the eighth row eight smaller boulders. The stones are of local rock, and were chosen so that their composition reflects the makeup of rock in the area. For example, there is the same proportion of basalt to gneiss (metamorphic rock) in the sculpture as there is in the Hartford area. The rows of stone are reminiscent of tombstones, a comparison made clear because Hartford's Ancient Burying Ground is adjacent to the sculpture.

As a major work by an important artist, you would expect Stone Field Sculpture to hold an honoured place in Hartford, but you'd be wrong. The conservative ethic runs deep there, and the work is regarded as something of an embarrassment by many who should know better. Life is like that sometimes - show beauty and meaning in certain ways and it will be missed. If it means you must sit and enjoy it in solitude, the better for you and the worse for them.

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