(American, b. 1928 - )
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
February 19, 2000 - May 21, 2000
'Conceptual Art is only good when the idea is good' (Sol Le Witt , 1967)
|Report from Rachel
Hailed as "the pioneer of Conceptual art" Sol Le Witt has placed much more than 'ideas' in front of us and has reached the level of popularity where his bright abstract easel paintings are liked just for the image, rather than the idea. Instead of with-holding the object to which the idea is attached, generally the aim of the concept artist - Le Witt has moved beyond visual gimmickry and returned to the possessible object: painting or sculpture.
Looking back over
four decades of Le Witt's work the SFMOMA exhibition hopes to clarify the
artist's position in the history of American 20th Century art. Born in
Hartford, Connecticut Le Witt became famous in the 1960's largely over
his obssession with the cube. His first modular cube structure was created
in 1965. It showed a wooden skeleton of repeated empty cubes painted black
- boring to look at, the piece only made significant sense when you made
an effort to comprehend the 'concept' behind it. Le Witt explained
"I decided to remove the skin altogether and reveal the structure." thus
abolishing the distinction between interior and exterior space.
By extension his
earlier work also became representative of that non-existent movement called
'Minimialism'. Austere, monochromatic, geometric - his cube drawings such
as Lines in Four Directions/Superimposed 1234 (1969) and series
of 'wall drawings' that basically show finely drawn dark squares on paper
with hand written 'concepts' below have been sources of inspiration for
a younger generation of art stars like Brice Marden. The drawings, some
of which will be on show at SFMOMA reflect the discipline Le Witt acquired
working as a graphic artist for Chinese-American architect I.M. Pei.
The drawings adhere strictly to the rule : the less visual information
supplied - the stronger the concept.
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