Saturday, May 28, 2011

Sol LeWitt: Conceptual Artist

I'm still feeling the "color accent" fuction on the IXY:)
I think it fits the look of the "Structures". 
Sol LeWitt was born in 1928 in Hartford Connecticut to a family of Russian Jewish immigrants. It was a leap year starting on a Sunday. The year was filled with many odd and happy events. The river Thames (London)floods, the moat at the Tower of London(drained in 1843)is filled in by a tidal wave. Estonia changed its currency from the Mark to the Kroon, "Piane Crazy" is released by Disney(the first appearance of Minnie&Mickey mouse). Lev Trotsky is arrested by the OGPU. And the "Pineapple primary" takes place(a fight between various underworld figures and gangs in Chicago and the politicians who protected them. Hand grenades were used by some, hence the name)in Chicago. Linked to various art movements and a large number of people, Sol LeWitt is regarded as a founder of both Minimalism and Conceptual art. Along with this he was prolific in a wide range of media's, including drawing, painting, printmaking, and sculpture. After receiving a BFA from Syracuse U.N. he traveled to Europe where he was exposed to the work of the old Masters. Shortly thereafter he served in the Korean war. In 1953 he moved to N.Y.C and set up his studio on the lower east side(The old Ashkenazi Jewish settlement on Hester st). During this time he studied at The School of Visual Arts while also pursuing his interest in design at Seventeen magazine, where he did paste-ups, mechanicals an photostat's. In 1955 he was a graphic designer in the office of I.M Pei for a year. Around that time he came upon the work of 19th century photographer Eadweard Muybridge. These experiences combined with an entry level job as a night receptionist and clerk at The MoMa would have a huge impact on his later work. He would also come to know many other artists(Robert Mangold, Robert Ryman and Dan Flavin)while working at the MoMa. His frequent use of open, modular structures originates from the cube. A form that has influenced and taunted LeWitt's thinking from very early on. Something taken, however small, from all these experiences, places, moments, media's, people, and ways of expressing creativity, must have caused LeWitt to think in terms of 3 dimensional "structures". Free standing shapes of varying degrees in an environment it is immediately at odds with, but after a while, depending on the individual, it's accepted. Or its looked at in an apathetic way, dismissed as just another meaningless object. An yet still there are those who are puzzled by them and seem to like them for reasons they don't understand. Either for the shape, shadow play, or simply how it makes them feel.  Sol LeWitt's work is meant to spark something within you, make you stop and wonder what a pyramid is doing in City Hall Park. Is there some greater meaning to it than what your seeing? What would drive someone to do this? LeWitt's "Structures"(1965-2006)will be on display @ City Hall Park until December 2nd 2011. Sol LeWitt pasted away in April of 2007. I think this event and public showing of his "Structures" is a much needed thing. Its strange, I had just begun to gain a greater awareness of Abstract painting when he passed away, and I had not known about him until now.

These two face Broadway. Out of all the "Structures"
at City Hall Park these are my favorite.