Sol LeWitt: A Wall Drawing Retrospective
Mass MOCA, North Adams, Mass.
“There would seem to be no immediate rush to go see” the new Sol LeWitt retrospective, said The Hartford Courant. The “massive” collection of drawings, all created according to the now-deceased artist’s specifications, will be on display for the next quarter-century. An entire three-story building has been set aside on the campus of the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art to display 105 examples of the “colorful, geometric wall drawings” LeWitt produced throughout his career. Because LeWitt was primarily a conceptual artist, whose art consisted of providing instructions to craftsmen who actually carried out the drawings, a whole career’s worth of work was able to be re-created. Tracing LeWitt’s work from his first crosshatched sketches in 1969 “to projects conceived specifically for the space,” this remarkable exhibition amounts to “the region’s biggest single-artist museum.”
“Most attempts at describing LeWitt’s work make it sound more or less lunatic,” said Sebastian Smee in The Boston Globe. Wall Drawing 305, for instance, consists of 100 points scattered across a wall, along with the instructions determining their locations. Other works set colored pencil lines overlapping in countless combinations, in ways that combine “intense levels of color saturation with an impression of cloudy ethereality.” Many late works consist primarily of scribbles created in accordance with instructions so complex they can never be repeated the same way twice. What’s amazing about LeWitt, though, is that the programmatic way he created his art rarely resulted in the sort of “esoteric and alienating” pieces produced by other conceptual artists. In fact, many of these exquisite drawings are “as light and airy and joyous as can be.”