Aspects: Fred Sandback's Sculpture

By Edward A. Vazquez

Stretching lengths of yarn across interior spaces, American artist Fred Sandback created expansive works that underscore the physical presence of the viewer. This book, the first major study of Sandback, explores the full range of his art, which not only disrupts traditional conceptions of material presence, but also stages an ethics of interaction between object and observer.

Drawing on Sandback’s substantial archive, Edward A. Vazquez demonstrates that the artist’s work—with all its physical slightness and attentiveness to place, as well as its relationship to minimal and conceptual art of the 1960s—creates a link between viewers and space that is best understood as sculptural even as it almost surpasses physical form. At the same time, the economy of Sandback’s site-determined practice draws viewers’ focus to their connection to space and others sharing it. As Vazquez shows, Sandback’s art aims for nothing less than a total recalibration of the senses, as the spectator is caught on neither one side nor the other of an object or space, but powerfully within it.


Publisher: The University of Chicago Press

Artists: Fred Sandback

Contributors: Edward A. Vazquez

Publication Date: 2017

Binding: Hardcover

Dimensions: 8 ½ × 10 in | 21.6 x 25.4 cm

Pages: 240

Reproductions: 30 color, 46 halftones

ISBN: 9780226407906

Retail: $50 | £37.50

Status: Available

Fred Sandback

Fred Sandback (1943–2003) was an American artist known for sculptures that outlined planes and volumes in space. Though he employed metal wire and elastic cord early in his career, the artist soon dispensed with mass and weight by using acrylic yarn to create works that address their physical surroundings, the “pedestrian space,” as Sandback called it, of everyday life. By stretching lengths of yarn horizontally, vertically, or diagonally at different scales and in varied configurations, the artist developed a singular body of work that elaborated on the phenomenological experience of space and volume with unwavering consistency and ingenuity.

All Fred Sandback books

Edward A. Vazquez

Edward A. Vazquez is associate professor in the Department of the History of Art and Architecture at Middlebury College