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September 9: Sol LeWitt

September 8, 2015

sol-lewitt-pompidou-metz-1342985369_orgSol LeWitt, a founder of both the conceptual and minimalist art movements, was born to immigrant parents in Hartford, CT on this date in 1928. Prolific in many media, including print-making, sculpture, and graphic design, LeWitt gained international prominence in the 1960s for his patterned wall drawings, which follow mathematical instructions, are executed directly on walls and other monumental spaces, and foster entrancing visual experiences of color, dimensionality, line, and pattern. These drawings were usually executed by artists other than LeWitt himself, following his instructions — so new Sol LeWitt artworks have been created even after his death in 2007. LeWitt’s works are found in nearly all of the leading museums of the world. He and his wife, Carol Androccio, also created an art collection of some 9,000 pieces by 750 artists through swaps and purchases.

bio_lewitt_sol“His belief in the artist as a generator of ideas was instrumental in the transition from the modern to the postmodern era. Conceptual art, expounded by LeWitt as an intellectual, pragmatic act, added a new dimension to the artist’s role that was distinctly separate from the romantic nature of Abstract Expressionism. LeWitt believed the idea itself could be the work of art, and maintained that, like an architect who creates a blueprint for a building and then turns the project over to a construction crew, an artist should be able to conceive of a work and then either delegate its actual production to others or perhaps even never make it at all. LeWitt’s work ranged from sculpture, painting, and drawing to almost exclusively conceptual pieces that existed only as ideas or elements of the artistic process itself.” —The Art Story