Sol LeWitt: A Wall Drawing Retrospective
A collaboration between Yale University Art Gallery, MASS MoCA, and the Williams College Museum of Art
Wall Drawing 237
The location of a trapezoid.
Black pencil and black crayon
Courtesy of the Estate of Sol LeWitt
Galleria Sperone, Turin
First Drawn By
MASS MoCA Building 7
One of the six basic figures in Sol LeWitt’s vocabulary, the trapezoid in Wall Drawing 237 is determined using the artist’s essential language of geometry, utilizing midpoints, corners and the center of the wall. This is an example of a location drawing in which the instructions provided by LeWitt are specific, limiting the range of interpretation on the part of the draftsman. Any differences in installation are due to differences between walls on which the piece is being drawn. Though the instructions are specifically worded, the process of this drawing is relational to the dimensions of the architectural space that it occupies, and so the resulting trapezoid will fluctuate.
The instructions for this drawing form part of the drawing itself, appearing on the wall with the geometric figure. The inclusion of the text in the final product indicates LeWitt’s interest in making his geometric construction process transparent and accessible to the viewer. An interested viewer can trace the evolution of the wall drawing from the verbal concept, represented by the text, through the lines and arcs of construction, to the appearance of the actual figure on the wall.
Though the text creates an important visual and conceptual component of the drawing, it is meant to appear as integrated with the other marks on the wall. The draftsman responsible for the drawing writes the verbal instructions in all capital letters in order to maintain orderliness in the handwriting, and to minimize expressiveness in the appearance of the letters. Though the letters are regulated and as nondescript as the draftsman can make them, there are still variations between drawings in this show, indicating the work of different draftsmen.
This style of capitalized instructions or titles is reminiscent of the fonts and handwriting techniques used by architects when making notations on plans and drawings. This recalls Sol LeWitt’s early work at I. M. Pei’s architectural firm, an early job gave him the vocabulary of the artist as conceptualizer. As an architect designs buildings that others erect, so LeWitt drafts diagrams and instructions for others to execute.