Carl Andre was born in Quincy, Massachusetts. He moved to New York in 1957, where he met Frank Stella in 1958, although the two had both studied at the Phillips Academy, Andover, Massachusetts. Later, the two shared Stella’s studio on West Broadway. Andre had his first solo exhibitions at Tibor de Nagy, New York, in 1965 and 1966; works by Donald Judd and Andre were first exhibited together in Primary Structures at the Jewish Museum, New York (April 27–June 12, 1966), and the two artists maintained a friendship for decades.
Andre made Manifest Destiny for an exhibition at 101 Spring Street in 1986 to benefit the War Resisters League. It is composed of a stack of found unstable Empire bricks. Although Andre has made many works using unmarked firebricks, he has not used these particular bricks, stamped “Empire,” for other works.