NAKED BY THE WINDOW: The Fatal Marriage of Carl Andre and Aha Mendieta by Robert Katz
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NAKED BY THE WINDOW: The Fatal Marriage of Carl Andre and Aha Mendieta

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A gripping account of the aftermath of artist Ana Mendieta's death. Early in the morning of September 8, 1985, world-famous sculptor Carl Andre called 911 to report that his wife ""went out the window"" of his 34th-floor New York City apartment. Discrepancies in Andre's statement and a ""fresh looking"" scratch on his nose led investigators to accuse him of murder. The investigative trail depended on suggestive circumstantial evidence, including: missing photocopies alleged to be Mendieta's records of Andre's affairs with several women, which she had been planning to use in divorce actions; Mendieta's fear of heights; and a woman's pleading voice saying ""no, no, no"" that a passer-by had heard seconds before the artist's plunge. The case polarized New York's art community: Andre was a giant figure, and much of the art establishment was fiercely loyal to him; Mendieta was a passionate woman with dozens of devoted friends, including a group of feminists who saw her death as yet another example of sanctioned male domination. Although Andre was ultimately acquitted, Katz, who had access to much evidence that wasn't used in the trial, ends up strongly suggesting that Andre was indeed guilty of murder. Katz (Days of Wrath, The Cassandra Crossing, etc.) dissects scores of clues in a clear, riveting way--but his details of art politics are even more fascinating and chilling. Mendieta's memorial service, for instance, ""was like an opening,"" one guest recalls, ""everyone was networking."" Mendieta's death was tragic, but the movers on the gallery circuit seemed less swayed by the evidence than by rock-solid pre-existing loyalties and an irritation that their insular world was being subjected to public scrutiny. A thoroughly reported and eye-opening page-turner.

Pub Date: May 16th, 1990
Publisher: Atlantic Monthly--dist. by Little, Brown