The Curious Case of Carl Andre

Among the art worlds biggest mysteries, is the suspicious death of artist Ana Mendieta. Her husband, famed sculptor Carl Andre, has long been suspected of her murder.


ABOVE: Ana Mendieta, Untitled (facial hair transplant, moustache), 1972, performance

On September 8, 1985, Cuban American artist Ana Mendieta died after falling from her 34th floor apartment in New York City. Mendieta was married to minimalist sculptor Carl Andre, and shortly after her death, he was arrested and charged with her murder.

There were no witnesses to the event, but neighbors did hear the two arguing prior to her fall. Most incriminating of all though was Andre’s 911 call:

“My wife is an artist, and I’m an artist, and we had a quarrel about the fact that I was more, eh, exposed to the public than she was. And she went to the bedroom, and I went after her, and she went out the window.”

Andre’s lawyer argued that Mendieta’s death was an accident, or possible suicide, and after a three year trial, he was acquitted of her murder. This did not sit well with many in the art world, and protests against the artist have continued to this day.

Case in point:

The New York based, Dia Art Foundation recently held a retrospective of Andre’s work. Last May, protesters dumped chicken blood and guts on the sidewalk outside the building. This March, they staged a ‘group cry’ inside the gallery.

Only Carl Andre knows for sure what took place that fateful day in 1985. Here’s hoping it really was a tragic accident.

RIP Ana Mendieta.