PaceWildenstein is pleased to present Sol LeWitt: Forms Derived from a Cube, an exhibition of Sol LeWitt’s wall drawings, gouaches and structures based on his transformations of the original cubic form. The exhibition will be on view from September 8 through October 17, 2009 at 32 East 57th Street, New York City.
Sol LeWitt helped revolutionize the definition of art in the 1960s with his famous notion that “the idea becomes a machine that makes the art.” Reducing art to its essentials, the cube became the basic modular unit for his artistic inquiry—“the grammatical device”—from which his work would proceed from the inception of his career throughout successive decades of his practice. A universally recognizable form that could not be mistaken to represent anything other than itself—and requiring no intention from the viewer, the cube eliminated “the necessity of inventing another form,” reserving its use “for invention.”
LeWitt achieved a major breakthrough in 1968 when he began executing large scale drawings directly on the wall, using predetermined line-making procedures and materials normally associated with drawing or commercial art techniques. A variety of geometric shapes had emerged as autonomous subjects in his wall drawings and works on paper in 1980, and by 1982 he began working with isometric projections. By dividing the sides of the basic cube into halves, thirds, and quarters and connecting the resulting dividing points by lines, LeWitt was able to transform planar figures into three-dimensional forms.
Another major innovation of the same period was his use of brilliantly colored ink washes that were diluted and then layered in order to achieve secondary colors and shades of gray. This exhibition features four wall drawings of forms derived from the cube from the 420 series (first drawn in November 1984); two wall drawings rendered in primary colors and grey from the 412 series (first drawn in March 1984); wall drawing 540—a floating cube (first drawn in September 1987); and two wall drawings from the 606 series with exuberantly colored backgrounds (first drawn in May 1989).
Three structures of forms derived from the cube made out of wood and painted white, all from 1983 and measuring 31-1/2″ x 31-1/2″ x 31-1/2″, will also be on view. In addition, the exhibition will highlight LeWitt’s investigations of the form and structure of the cube in gouache, a medium that he began working with in 1981. The medium took LeWitt’s application and approach to color in a new direction by enabling him to overlay basic washes of red, yellow, blue, and black, achieving a wide variety of colors.
Sol LeWitt: Forms Derived from a Cube follows the recent opening of Sol LeWitt: A Wall Drawing Retrospective at Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, North Adams. This historic and ambitious exhibition features 105 large-scale wall drawings that the artist created between 1969 and 2007. Conceived by the Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Connecticut, in collaboration with the artist, the exhibition was jointly organized by the Yale University Art Gallery, MASS MoCA, and the Williams College Museum of Art in Williamstown, Massachusetts. The exhibition will remain on view through 2033.
PaceWildenstein’s exhibition coincides with Whirls and twirls (MTA), a site-specific, permanent installation at the Columbus Circle subway station in New York City. The piece was commissioned by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) in 2004 as part of its Arts for Transit program while LeWitt was still alive. The installation follows the recent completion of Wall Drawing #746, an ink wash drawing of cubes, recently installed in downtown Manhattan at the Broadway Pavilion of the Jacob K. Javits Federal Building on 26 Federal Plaza. The public art project, on long-term loan from the Estate, was organized by the United States General Services Administration’s (GSA) Art in Architecture Program.
A documentary film on the artist that focuses on his wall drawings is currently being produced by the Checkerboard Film Foundation and is scheduled to be released at the end of 2009.
PaceWildenstein has presented ten solo exhibitions of LeWitt’s work since 1994. The gallery was appointed the International Representative of the LeWitt Estate in November 2007.
Sol LeWitt has been the subject of over five hundred solo exhibitions in museums and galleries worldwide since 1965. His prolific two- and three-dimensional work (which also includes monumental outdoor pieces), ranges from Wall Drawings, to photographs, drawings, prints, books and extends to structures primarily in the form of towers, pyramids, geometric forms, and progressions. In 2007, LeWitt was selected to participate in Robert Storr’s exhibition Think with the Senses – Feel with the Mind, Art in the Present Tense in the Italian Pavilion as part of the 52nd International Art Exhibition, La Biennale di Venezia, marking the fifth Venice Biennale to include LeWitt’s work following those of 1976, 1980, 1988, and 1997.
Sol LeWitt (b. 1928, Hartford, Connecticut – d. 2007, New York, NY) received a B.F.A. from Syracuse University in 1949. After travelling to Europe and serving in the Korean War, the artist moved to New York City in the 1950s, where he pursued his interest in design at Seventeen magazine and worked as a graphic designer in the office of architect I.M. Pei. In 1960 LeWitt took an entry-level job at The Museum of Modern Art, New York, where his co-workers included Dan Flavin, Robert Mangold, and Robert Ryman. Eighteen years later he would receive a major travelling retrospective organized by the same museum devoted to his modular and serial structures, framed drawings and wall drawings.
Image: nstallation images from Sol LeWitt: Forms Derived from a Cube on view at PaceWildenstein, 32 East 57th Street, New York City, through October 17, 2009. Photos by: G.R. Christmas / Courtesy PaceWildenstein , New York