Sol LeWitt "Arcs and Lines"

Paula Cooper Gallery "534 W 21 St."

poster for Sol LeWitt "Arcs and Lines"

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An exhibition of Sol LeWitt wall drawings composed of arcs and lines from the 1970s and 1980s.

From the simple straight line, in black pencil on a white wall, of his first wall drawings, to the luminous ink washes, exuberant swirls of color and final scribbled graphite works, LeWitt developed, throughout his entire career, a body of wall works that thoroughly transformed and enriched the very definition of contemporary art. Realized directly on the wall yet different from frescoes in their ability to be re-created, the wall drawings are impermanent manifestations of an idea. In LeWitt’s words, “All decisions are made beforehand, so execution becomes a perfunctory affair.” These quietly revolutionary works detached art from the condition of being an object and concentrated the viewer’s attention on aesthetic form as the lucid exposition of thought.

During the 1970s and early 1980s, LeWitt’s privileged lexicon was an array of straight, non-straight, and broken lines and arcs traced in black and primary colors. The three wall drawings presented here are such explorations of the drawn line. In the front gallery, two works composed of identical grids containing colored straight lines and arcs (Wall Drawings #392, #393) dialogue in counterpoint. The works were commissioned in 1983 by the Musée d'Art Contemporain of Bordeaux, France, and intended for children to execute in the Museum's Atelier d'Enfants (children workshop). "Wall Drawing #393" has never been exhibited since. In the main space is "Wall Drawing #122," first installed in 1972 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge. As specified in its title-cum-definition, the work contains “All combinations of two lines crossing, placed at random, using arcs from corners and sides, straight, not straight and broken lines” resulting in 150 unique pairings that unfold on the gallery walls. LeWitt further expanded on this theme, creating variations such as "Wall Drawing #260" (Museum of Modern Art, New York), which systematically runs through all possible two-part combinations of arcs and lines.

[Image: Sol LeWitt "Wall Drawing #392 (detail)" Red, yellow, blue, black crayon, black pencil grid, white wall; dimensions variable]



from May 07, 2011 to August 26, 2011


Sol LeWitt

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