About Sol LeWitt

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Sol LeWitt (September 9, 1928 – April 8, 2007) was born in Hartford, Connecticut. After receiving his B.F.A. degree from Syracuse University and serving in the Korean War as a graphic artist, he moved to New York in 1953, setting up a studio on the lower east side. He studied at the School of Visual Arts while also pursuing his interest in design in the various jobs he took to support himself, including working as a clerk and night receptionist at the MOMA. A year long stint working as a graphic designer for the architect I.M. Pei was a formative experience in his thinking about the concept vs. the execution of art. As LeWitt later wrote, “An architect doesn’t go off with a shovel and dig his foundation and lay every brick. He’s still an artist.”


LeWitt is considered a founder of mimimal and conceptual art. His seminal 1967 article in Art Forum "Paragraphs on Conceptual Art" and his 1969 "Sentences on Conceptual Art" that appeared in 0 to 9 magazine in New York and Art-Language in England were milestones in the conceptual art movement of the 70's and defined the course of LeWitt's work.



On conceptual art:


"When an artist uses a conceptual form of art, it means that all of the planning and decisions are made beforehand and the execution is a perfunctory affair. The idea becomes a machine that makes the art."


“An architect doesn’t go off with a shovel and dig his foundation and lay every brick. He’s still an artist.”



On how he began thinking about wall drawings:


"The ’60s were awash in politics and revolution. Not only in art of course, but feminism, racial equality and opposition to war. I, like almost all of the artists I knew, was involved in all of these movements and was politically left-oriented. One of the ideas was the relation to art as a commodity. I thought by doing drawings on the wall, they would be non-transportable—therefore a commitment by the owner would be implied, and they could not be bought or sold easily."


"As soon as one does work on walls, the idea of using the whole wall follows. It means that the art is intimately involved with the architecture. It is available to be seen by everyone. It avoids the preciousness of gallery or museum installations. Also, since art is a vehicle for the transmission of ideas through form, the reproduction of the form only reinforces the concept. It is the idea that is being reproduced. Anyone who understands the work of art owns it. We all own the Mona Lisa."


“The wall drawing is a permanent installation, until destroyed."



To Eva Hesse on being true to oneself and not worrying about critics:


"You seem the same as always, and being you, hate every minute of it. Don’t! Learn to say “Fuck You” to the world once in a while. You have every right to. Just stop thinking, worrying, looking over your shoulder, wondering, doubting, fearing, hurting, hoping for some easy way out, struggling, gasping, confusing, itching, scratching, mumbling, bumbling, grumbling, humbling, stumbling, rumbling, rambling, gambling, tumbling, scumbling, scrambling, hitching, hatching, bitching, moaning, groaning, honing, boning, horse-shitting, hair-splitting, nit-picking, piss-tricking, nose-sticking, ass-gouging, eyeball-poking, finger-pointing, alleyway-sneaking, long waiting, small stepping, evil-eyeing, back-scratching, searching, perching, besmirching, grinding grinding grinding away at yourself.


Stop it and just DO… Don’t worry about cool, make your own uncool. Make your own, your own world… You must practice being stupid, dumb, unthinking, empty. Then you will be able to DO! I have much confidence in YOU and even though you are tormenting yourself, the work you do is very good. Try to do some BAD work. The worst you think of and see what happens but mainly relax and let everything go to hell.”














Project contacts:

Lynn Steen/Jonna Hitchcock

Email: lynnsteen@unerasingsollewitt.com