Sol LeWitt: A Wall Drawing Retrospective
A collaboration between Yale University Art Gallery, MASS MoCA, and the Williams College Museum of Art
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Photo: John McAlister (Wall Drawing 154 is located on a wall with Wall Drawing 159, Wall Drawing 160, and Wall Drawing 164. Wall Drawing 154 is located in the bottom left of the wall. )
Wall Drawing 154
A black outlined square with a red horizontal line from the midpoint of the left side toward the middle of the right side.
Red and black crayon
Courtesy of the Estate of Sol LeWitt (Designated for Yale University Art Gallery)
Museum of Modern Art, Oxford
First Drawn By
Sol LeWitt, Nicholas Logsdail
MASS MoCA Building 7
Located on the same wall as wall drawings Wall Drawing 160, Wall Drawing 164 and Wall Drawing 159, Wall Drawing 154 presents the viewer with an opportunity to explore Sol LeWitt’s creative process. Each of these drawings explores the concept of finding lines within a square in a different way, exhibiting the importance of permutations in LeWitt’s work. The exhaustion of the possibilities of a simple geometric grammar forms the basis of LeWitt’s artistic practice, and these four early examples of ‘location drawings’ provide a visual example of his working methods.
From these square and line-based drawings, LeWitt extrapolated the idea of shape and line construction as a fundamental process of drafting to create a series of location drawings. These works show an artistic interest in the geometry of the wall, in geometric point-finding, and in the potential for communicating an image through textual instruction. The instructions for Wall Drawing 154 are clear and uncomplicated, but allow endless nuance and subtle differentiation in the actual execution of the drawing. While LeWitt specifies the dimensions of the square and the position of the line, he neglects to specify how long the line should be, turning that responsibility over to the draftsman.
The simultaneous clarity and open-endedness of the instructions illustrate LeWitt’s interest in the wall drawing as both a meticulously rendered art object, and an expression of an abstract idea. That the appearance of the drawing will vary with each installation underscores LeWitt’s prioritizing the idea over its physical manifestation.