Sol Lewitt Installation at City Hall Park, all images courtesy of Gautier Pellegrin for Art Observed.
27 career spanning works from the late conceptual artist Sol LeWitt are now on view at City Hall Park through December 2nd. Curated from museums and private collections around the the world, the landmark exhibition Sol LeWitt: Structures, 1965-2006 is the first outdoor career survey of the groundbreaking artist’s conceptual work.
More text and images after the jump…
Spanning 40 years of sculptural work, the exhibition traces the development and artistic exploration of one of the most influential conceptual artists of the 20thcentury. LeWitt, a leader of the minimalist and conceptualist movements, was based for much of his life in New York and had a studio on the Lower East Side. Although this exhibition deals primarily with sculpture, or “structures” as he liked to call them, he also worked in other media including photography and paper.
Having been instrumental in developing the idea of conceptual art in the 1960’s, LeWitt explored this theme within his sculpture and other work for the reminder of his lifetime. Sol LeWitt: Sculptures includes significant pieces from the artist’s modular, serial, geometric, and irregular structures series that represent his entire oevre in the medium of sculpture. Several pieces, such as Tower (Columbus), have been constructed the first time on American soil.
Pyramid (Münster), first built for an exhibition in Germany in 1987, also appears in its U.S. debut. The piece was one of LeWitt’s first concrete wall structures and represents an important moment in the artist’s development. It takes about 1,300 concrete blocks to make the pyramid and depending on the perspective of the viewer, it can be regarded either as a stepped pyramid or half cube. This theme of convergence between architecture and sculpture is prevalant throughout LeWitt’s sculptural work and can also be seen in the nine pieces from the Incomplete Open Cubes series which are also being shown for the first time in America.
The process of constructing the new works was overseen by Jeremy Ziemann, a sculptor who assisted LeWitt for nearly two decades. Works were completed according to instructions provided by LeWitt’s drawings, which is similar to as it would have been before his death. What mattered most to conceptual artists like LeWitt was less the finished piece than its actual concept and execution. Hence, it is the idea behind the work which becomes important and takes precedence over concerns of the material and aesthetic tradition.
When the exhibition is closed December, the concrete structures will be demolished. Until then, an app and an audio tour has been made available to guide visitors through the pieces, and poetry events and other programming will take place around the installation through the end of the summer.