The pioneering work of Carl Andre, Lynda Benglis, and Frank Stella heralded a new era in postwar art, radically redefining our understanding of what sculpture can be. Coming to prominence in the late 1950s and 1960s in downtown New York, these artists’ formative years were crucially intertwined. The studio shared by Carl Andre and Frank Stella from 1958 to 1960 housed essential developments in painting and sculpture that were to prove hugely influential on the next generation of artists, and when Lynda Benglis arrived in New York in 1964 to attend the Brooklyn Museum School, the first artist she invited to visit her studio was Carl Andre. Recognizing Benglis’s focus and determination in the shaped wax paintings she was working on at the time, Andre exclaimed: “Oh, you’re a real artist.” Both Benglis and Stella dedicated major works to Andre (the rhombus-shaped canvas Carl Andre, 1963, by Stella, and the poured polyurethane mass For Carl Andre, 1970, by Benglis). Contemporaneous yet markedly diverse in their approaches to process and materials, Andre, Benglis and Stella have each made unparalleled contributions to sculpture.
Andre started his career in 1958 carving wood, using a chisel or saw to create abstract pieces with geometric patterns. These early works, called Ladders, recalled the verticality and symmetry of Brancusi’s sculptures, with concave carvings on one side. With notable reverence, Andre recalls Stella walking around one of these sculptures, admiring the untouched side of the beam of timber and remarking, “That’s sculpture, too.” It was not long until Andre definitively abandoned the manipulation of materials, using untouched timbers of equal size in various configurations. He progressively moved on to materials such as granite, limestone, steel, lead and copper, grouping and juxtaposing elemental units to draw attention to differences and similarities in volume, surface and form.
Stella similarly moved sculpture away from the plinth or base to sit directly on the floor, or expand away from the wall in sculptural relief. In the late 1970s, Stella rejected aesthetic notions of composition and minimal nuance with his spectacular wall-mounted painted reliefs, their forms rooted in collage. Since the 1990s, Stella has explored the spatial relationship between geometric forms, color and surface in large-scale, often computer-generated structures. With an arresting forcefulness and exuberant use of color and shine, Stella’s sculptures are unrestrained where Andre is reductive, and synthetic where his materials are elemental. The expansive works in the current exhibition luxuriate in taking up space, evincing the inventiveness and energy of their maker.
Admiring Andre’s floor-based work and Stella’s bold use color and material, Benglis combined Andre sculpture’s concern for gravity with process-oriented painting techniques in her own floor-based, pigmented polyurethane and latex sculptures. As her career advanced, Benglis continued to explore the artistic properties of a wide range of materials, while delighting in the decorative, organic, and biomorphic aspects of sculpture. Glitter, gold, and vibrant colors abound in Benglis’s assuredly sensual and elusive works, which frequently exhibit the influence of her Greek ancestry. Recent cast polyurethane wall reliefs, for example, are titled after water nymphs, and their floating forms impart all of the fantasy and fragility those names imply.
 Lynda Benglis in conversation with Margaret Carrigan, Artnet News, June 5, 2018, online.
 Carl Andre in Cuts: Carl Andre Texts 1959-2004, by James Meyer (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2005), p. 268.