Sol Lewitt always invited others into the process of making. His gift for inclusion could become a lost art. Mr. LeWitt’s generosity was legendary. Committed to cultivating a sense of artistic community, he famously offered encouragement and support for other artists. LeWitt traded work with almost any artist who wanted to exchange with him.
Lesson / Koan : The hand has always been a tool welcoming an open invitation.
In 1955, Sol Lewitt worked for the renowned architect I.M. Pei as a graphic designer. His experience in the architecture firm influenced not only his work, but also his process of creating art. Lewitt’s wall drawings are related to architecture in process and also in product.
In Lewitt’s words, “an architect doesn’t go off with a shovel and dig his foundation and lay every brick. He’s still an artist”, so why should Lewitt’s work be treated any different than blue prints utilized by architects. While it is not unusual for an artist to employ assistants to produce their work, Lewitt takes on an even more removed position in the creation of his art. A Sol Lewitt wall drawing begins as a small sketch, and then Lewitt writes directions for completing the piece, the rest is up to the draftsman. Human error and interpretation affect the piece, making sure that no two wall drawings are ever exactly the same. Lewitt believed that “Ideas cannot be owned…they belong to whomever understands them.” Sol Lewitt believed that art should be treated in the same manner as architecture. He believes that the concept or idea was the most important aspect of art. Though he might never associate himself with classical architecture, his work still employs a classical idealism.
What would you give Sol Lewitt?
( click image below for details on MASS MOCA artist exchange /exhibition )