Sol LeWitt: A Wall Drawing Retrospective
A collaboration between Yale University Art Gallery, MASS MoCA, and the Williams College Museum of Art
Wall Drawing 1081
Planes of color.
Courtesy of the Estate of Sol LeWitt (Designated for Yale University Art Gallery)
Kunstammlungen Chemnitz, Germany
First Drawn By
Michael Aurich, José Augusto, Proa Daniel, Megan Dyer, Jan Kummer, Frank Maibier, Hilmar Messenbrink, Erik Neukirchner, Tomas Ramberg, Ralph Siebenborn, Mattias Stein
MASS MoCA Building 7
The exuberance of the surface of this piece due to the bright palette and relative permanence of the acrylic paint has been described as ‘decorative,’ contrasting it with the more ephemeral graphite used in earlier drawings. The pencil drawings certainly foreground the conceptual emphasis on verbal expression and temporality of the art object, but the systematic process that drives every Sol LeWitt wall drawing is preserved here as well. Though the arrangement of figures and colors may seem driven by aesthetic considerations, the actual product is an iteration of the same rules and artistic strictures in evidence in earlier drawings. The shapes are limited to the rectangle and the trapezoid, two of the original six that LeWitt used. The colors are only the three primary colors; red, blue and yellow, and the three secondary colors; green, purple and orange.
The procession of flat planes of various size and color creates a sense of movement and an illusion of perspective, expressing the influence of Eadweard Muybridge. This sense of expanded architectural space would have been magnified in the first installation of this drawing, at the Kunstammlungen Chemnitz, where it occupied three walls.
Sol LeWitt was a great admirer of the work of Josef Albers, to whom he dedicated a later wall drawing. Like the older artist, LeWitt was committed to stripping his artistic vocabulary down to the fundamentals, and the results of his color iterations speak to the creative legacy of Albers.