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Sol LeWitt: A Wall Drawing Retrospective

A collaboration between Yale University Art Gallery, MASS MoCA, and the Williams College Museum of Art
#17 / Photo: Hallie Scott
Info

Wall Drawing 17

Four-part drawing with a different line direction in each part.
September 1969
Black pencil
Panza Collection

First Installation

Dwan Gallery, New York

First Drawn By

Steven Gwon, Chris Hansen, T. Julia, Al Williams, Sol LeWitt

MASS MoCA Building 7
Ground Floor

Sol LeWitt’s early wall drawings were often treated as discrete areas drawn on a planar ground; the wall acted like a sheet of paper or any drawing surface. The artist slowly began to address the wall as an architectural element, however, and began to incorporate his drawings more fully into their surroundings.

For an exhibition at the Dwan Gallery in 1969 LeWitt treated the four walls of the gallery as a unified installation. Each of the walls contained part of a series incorporating the four absolute lines (horizontal, vertical, diagonal right, diagonal left) drawn in different combinations.

Wall Drawing 17 contains the first part of the series: four vertical panels each contain one of the four absolute line directions.

Backstory

To create Wall Drawing 17 three draftsmen worked together, taking turns making bundles of three sticks of graphite, holding the straight edge, and drawing the lines. The diagonal lines are much more complicated to draw than the vertical and horizontal lines; thus they are left up to the head draftsman. Before they are ready to draw on the wall, the less experienced draftsmen practice drawing lines on drywall board.

   
 
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