Carl Andre’s 144 Pieces of Zinc is one of the few artworks in the Museum’s Collection that is meant to be experienced physically, and that visitors may touch. The artist felt that the qualities inherent in the material were the most important aspect of his work, and that they were meant to be discovered through touch.
Imagine 144 Pieces of Zinc wasn’t in a museum, but, say, come upon in a hardware store surrounded by a bunch of home improvement tiles. You don’t have to imagine. The Tate Museum did it. They installed their collection’s 144 Magnesium Square on the floor in a hardware store in Liverpool, England, and then asked residents of Liverpool what they thought about seeing the minimalist work in a non-art context.
As you see in the video, people have strong feelings about this sort of thing…