Sol LeWitt's first reputation was based on the modular sculpture he did in 1965 and thereafter. These open grids of identical parts are logically easy to grasp, but viewed in perspective take on a visual intricacy and flicker from the overlapping of the slender, white-painted wooden or metal bars. As early as 1967 he referred to his kind of work as Conceptual art, meaning "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." As LeWitt pursued this practice, he made an unprecedented move away from three dimensions into two—unprecedented because sculptors usually protect their notion of volume or physicality with great intensity. The mystique of physical plasticity, for instance, is common to sculptors as different in other respects as Tony Smith, Mark di Suvero and Richard Serra. LeWitt is free of this craftsmanly burden and it is pleasant, like meeting an actor without vanity.
Late in 1968 LeWitt turned to drawing. In a publication known as "The Xerox Book," he took sixteen squares made up of lines running in different directions and worked out twenty-four permutations, changing the pattern of vertical, horizontal and diagonal lines each time. It is a two-dimensional version of the equalized parts of the modular sculpture. In addition, LeWitt made his first two wall drawings, one at a gallery in New York, the other in Los Angeles. The one in New York LeWitt drew himself: two 4-foot squares put directly on the plaster; in Los Angeles, two tiers of twenty-four 4-foot squares were done by assistants, following LeWitt's verbal instructions. Since then most of his work has been in the field of expanded or delegated graphics and two galleries are showing the work at present: at the John Weber Gallery there are big wall drawings (until February 14, ) and at the Rosa Esman Gallery, a selection of drawings, prints and wall drawings (until February 28, ). In effect the wall drawings range from schematic echoes of architectural form, as at Weber, to a kind of wall mist, as at Esman.____________________
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Publication information: Book title: Topics in American Art since 1945. Contributors: Lawrence Alloway - Author. Publisher: W. W. Norton. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1975. Page number: 96.
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