Thursday, April 12, 2007

Remembering Sol LeWitt

To say that the art world suffered a great loss this week with the passing of conceptual artist Sol LeWitt is an understatement. Finding it difficult to express the magnitude of his oeuvre and fulfilling a desire to comprehend his history with the Addison, I decided to dedicate this blog entry to the artist. I have searched through archival exhibition files, read our exhibition catalogue for Sol LeWitt: Twenty-Five Years of Wall Drawings, 1968-1993, and looked at documents about objects by the artist on file. The following notes and photographs represent a small selection of my findings.

In 2003, the Addison produced a brochure for the exhibition Sol LeWitt: Recent Acquisitions, which unfolds into a poster displaying the forty-seven objects by the artist in the Addison’s collection. Printed on its reverse side, former director Adam Weinberg wrote about the museum’s history of collecting LeWitt’s art:

“The first connection to Sol LeWitt came in 1978 through Addison director Chris Cook, long an admirer and supporter of conceptual art. During his tenure, the museum acquired its first LeWitt works, the screenprints Three Squares with a Different Color in Each Half Square…, 1971 and Lines, Not Long, Not Heavy, Not Touching, Drawn at Random (Circle)…, 1971, thanks to Donnelly Erdman, a Phillips Academy alumnus, and Dossett McCullough. Shortly thereafter, in the Addison’s fiftieth anniversary exhibition, Cook included Wall Drawing #358, a piece that was produced by Andover students. This project was the precedent for the landmark Sol LeWitt: Twenty-Five Years of Wall Drawings, 1968-1993, organized by director Jock Reynolds in 1993. This stellar exhibition presented forty-four wall drawings that were produced by sixty students and volunteers working with one of LeWitt’s assistants and the Addison Gallery staff.”

These archival photographs document the creation of Sol LeWitt: Twenty-Five Years of Wall Drawings, 1968-1993.
These wall drawings now exist underneath numerous layers of paint on the Addison’s walls. However, one wall drawing remains visible. Painted on a vaulted ceiling in a gallery, Wall Drawing #713 was designed by the artist specifically for the Addison in 1993.

The Addison will be forever indebted to Sol LeWitt’s extraordinary generosity.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The contemporary art world has suffered a great loss, and this generous tribute to him is solace for those of us who admired his work and his commitment to institutions like the Addison.