Fred Sandback: Vertical Constructions

Texts by Yve-Alain Bois, David Gray, and Lisa Le Feuvre

This new publication marks the first comprehensive survey of a seminal body of work that helped make Fred Sandback into the internationally celebrated artist he has become known as today.

This catalogue, published on the occasion of the exhibition at David Zwirner, New York, in the fall of 2016, takes its lead from a 1987 mid-career presentation of Sandback’s work at Westfälischer Kunstverein in Münster, also called Vertical Constructions. With a mixture of archival imagery of the sculptures in situ in Münster, and new photography of these works installed at Zwirner, this publication is both a historical document and a source of renewed attention to this body of work. It also features an expanded selection of sculpture, going beyond what was presented in the 1987 and 2016 exhibitions, to include key examples of vertical constructions spanning Sandback’s career.

New scholarship by Yve-Alain Bois revisits his leading argument that was put forth in his essay for the 2005 Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein catalogue about the power of Sandback’s immateriality—its ability to linger in our memories—in the context of the vertical constructions. Lisa Le Feuvre, a longtime scholar of sculpture, offers a more historical treatment of the show in relation to the artist’s writings and other works. Also included is a text by David Gray, who responds to Marianne Stockebrand’s original essay about the Münster installation; he reveals the dialogues around Sandback’s practice at the time and helps us reconstruct the way the influence of his vertical works has continued to grow in the thirty years since.


Publisher: David Zwirner Books

Artists: Fred Sandback

Contributors: Yve-Alain Bois, David Gray, Lisa Le Feuvre

Designer: Michael Dyer, Remake

Printer: VeronaLibri, Verona, Italy

Publication Date: 2017

Binding: Hardcover

Dimensions: 10 1/2 x 12 1/2 in | 26.7 x 31.8 cm

Pages: 132

Reproductions: 92 color, 4 b&w

ISBN: 9781941701577

Retail: $55 | £40 | €54

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

Yve-Alain Bois

Yve-Alain Bois is a professor of art history at the School of Historical Studies at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey. Bois has written widely on modern and contemporary art, and his 2005 essay on Sandback’s work has remained one of the most influential pieces of scholarship on the artist to date.

David Gray

David Gray is an editor and art historian. He is presently a board member at the Fred Sandbank Archive; project director, Robert Ryman Catalogue Raisonné; and executive director, The Greenwich Collection, Ltd., a nonprofit foundation. He has contributed to catalogues raisonnés for John Cage, Dan Flavin, and Felix Gonzalez-Torres.

Lisa Le Feuvre

Lisa Le Feuvre is a curator, writer, editor, and public speaker. She is the inaugural executive director of Holt/Smithson Foundation, an artist-endowed foundation dedicated to the creative legacies of the artists Nancy Holt and Robert Smithson. Between 2010 and 2017, Le Feuvre was head of sculpture studies at the Henry Moore Institute, where she directed the research component of the largest artist-endowed foundation in Europe, leading a program of education, research, collections, publications, and exhibitions.