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The Sol LeWitt Project

“Sol [LeWitt]…always saw something new just over the horizon… His relentless questioning… helped divert the stream of art… toward a more open and democratic vision of art’s relationship to culture… all subsequent art is in his debt.”  —Mel Bochner1

About the Project

This fall, the Glasscock School of Continuing Studies and Rice Public Art celebrate the acquisition and installation of internationally-renowned artist Sol LeWitt’s “Wall Drawing #1115” and the installation of “Wall Drawing #869A,” at the Anderson-Clarke Center. Like a musical score or architectural blueprints, LeWitt’s wall drawings are detailed instructions for artworks conceived by the artist to be executed by others. These two wall drawings will be installed at the Glasscock School in late fall 2019 by artists trained by the Sol LeWitt estate.

As the first conceptual artwork in the Rice Public Art collection and the third work of public art at the Glasscock School (in addition to Stephen Dean’s Black Ladder and Joseph Havel’s In Play), LeWitt’s Wall Drawing #1115 will serve as a tremendous artistic resource for our campus and community. Together with Wall Drawing #869A, generously loaned by the Sol LeWitt Estate and Paula Cooper Gallery, New York, these two dynamic wall drawings will inspire a range of public programs, conversations and celebrations of art and ideas.

Sign up for updates about our fall 2019 Sol LeWitt wall drawing installations, programs, events and other Glasscock School community art events, courses and programs. We hope you’ll join the Solebration!

 

Sol_Lewitt

Pictured: Sol LeWitt. Wall Drawing #1115. Circle within a square, each with broken bands of color. Acrylic paint. First drawn by: Takeshi Arita, Patrick Gavin, Glenn LaVertu, Laura Ostrander, Sara Saltzman. First installation: Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, Providence. February 2004. © 2019 The LeWitt Estate / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Courtesy Paula Cooper Gallery, New York. Photo: Erik Gould.

Gift of H. Russell Pitman ‘58.

“I will refer to the kind of art in which I am involved as conceptual art. In conceptual art the idea or concept is the most important aspect of the work…The idea becomes a machine that makes the art.” —Sol LeWitt2

Solomon “Sol” LeWitt (1928–2007) was an American artist renowned for his role as a founder of Minimalism and Conceptual art, a pioneer in elevating ideas as an art form. LeWitt’s abundant body of work includes more than 1,270 “wall drawings” and numerous “structures” (as he called his sculptures), as well as many drawings, paintings and other forms of art. His work explored “seriality” of ideas and forms, an approach LeWitt compared to musical variations and photography. LeWitt’s artwork is grounded in ideas and is visually powerful and engaging.

Rice University has a special connection to LeWitt and his wall drawings. LeWitt’s wall drawing, “Glossy and Flat Black Squares” was installed as Rice Gallery’s first site-specific work in 2007. This same work was re-installed as Rice Gallery’s final exhibition in 2017.

LeWitt has been described as: “one of the most influential American artists of the 20th century…”3, “a lodestar of modern American art…,”4 and “…as visionary as anyone who ever made art.”5

“The artist and the draftsman become collaborators in making the art.” —Sol LeWitt6

Like a musical score or architectural blueprints, LeWitt’s wall drawings are detailed instructions for artworks conceived by the artist and executed by others whom he or his studio trained. Since 1968, more than 1,270 LeWitt wall drawings have been installed worldwide. They include an enormously diverse range of styles, media, colors and shapes, and have been described as “plainly beautiful, gorgeously rendered, and exquisite in visual effect."7 These works are drawn or painted “directly on the wall with no intervention”8 so that “the art is intimately involved with the architecture. It is available to be seen by everyone.”9

LeWitt’s wall drawings are an ideal fit for a school and university dedicated to community learning and engagement, as they celebrate ideas and are “imbued with the spirit of collaboration and generosity.”10

Wall Drawing #1115

If you could represent the Glasscock School’s vibrant community in an abstract work of art, what would it look like? We like to imagine it would look something like Sol LeWitt’s “Wall Drawing #1115,” which graces the cover of this fall’s catalog. The hundreds of painted “bands” that comprise this artwork vary in shape, size and color. Together, they form interwoven circles, radiating powerful energy and a sense of joy. This work will be installed in late fall on a two-story wall in the Anderson-Clarke Center’s Dean’s Commons, the central convening space of our school.

Wall Drawing #869A

In fall 2019, a second wall drawing generously loaned by the Sol LeWitt Estate and Paula Cooper Gallery, New York, will be installed on the second floor of the Glasscock School. Stay tuned to learn more about this “copied lines” drawing, which has never before been installed anywhere in the world.

  • Sign up for updates about our fall 2019 Sol LeWitt wall drawing installations, programs, events and other Glasscock School community art events, courses and programs

“Every person alive is an artist in some way… We’re all making art as we live.” —Sol LeWitt11

Join us for a series of special programs and events celebrating Sol LeWitt, conceptual art, experiencing and making art and big questions in art. Highlights will include:

Symposium: Sol LeWitt Today

Saturday, Dec. 7th, 2019, 10 a.m.-12 p.m., Moody Center for the Arts

Nationally-acclaimed LeWitt scholars, curators, and artists engage in a critical discussion of LeWitt’s work in this event organized by the Moody Center for the Arts, Rice Public Art and the Department of Art History.

Registration is not required for this free public program.


The Idea of Art and the Art of Ideas Continuing Studies Course

Mondays, Oct.7- Nov. 11, 2019, 7-8:30 p.m., Anderson-Clarke Center

This six-week course explores big questions such as “What is art?” and “Who is an artist?” using the field of conceptual art and the work of Sol LeWitt as a springboard. Featuring Rice scholars and other experts in the fields of art history, studio art, architecture, music and more, it also includes a behind-the-scenes look at the artwork and influences of LeWitt at the Menil Drawing Institute. 


Who is An Artist? Sol LeWitt Master Installer Talk

Monday, Nov. 4, 2019, 7-8:30 p.m., Anderson-Clarke Center Hudspeth Auditorium, Free

John Hogan, Installations Director for the LeWitt Estate and Installations Director and Archivist for Sol LeWitt Wall Drawings at Yale University Art Gallery, reflects on four decades of installing LeWitt’s work in this talk facilitated by John Sparagana, Grace Christian Vietti Chair of Visual and Dramatic Arts and Professor of Painting and Drawing, Rice University. The 7-8 p.m. talk will be followed by a brief reception from 8-8:30 p.m.


The Big Draw

Tuesday, Nov. 12th, 2019, 5-7 p.m., Anderson-Clarke Center Dean’s Commons

Curious about what it’s like to make a wall drawing? Practice “making your mark” and following and generating creative instructions in a community workshop led by Glasscock studio art instructors. No artistic experience necessary.

Registration is not required for this free public program.


Solebration: Free Community Opening Reception

Monday, Nov. 18, 2019, 5:30-7 p.m., Anderson-Clarke Center

Join us to celebrate the installation of Wall Drawing #1115 and Wall Drawing #869A in this free public exhibit opening and reception. 


 

Sign up for updates about our fall 2019 Sol LeWitt wall drawing installations, programs, events and other Glasscock School community art events, courses and programs.

We are grateful to the following partners for their collaboration on the Sol LeWitt Project:

This project is funded, in part, by a generous gift from H. Russell Pitman ’58. Programming is also supported with grants from the Rice University Arts Initiative and the Glasscock School Continuing Scholars Endowment.

Sign up for updates about our fall 2019 Sol LeWitt wall drawing installations, programs, events and other Glasscock School community art events, courses and programs.

Learn more about the Glasscock School and our Community Learning and Engagement courses and programs.

Learn more about Rice Public Art.

Inquiries: For more information about the Sol LeWitt Project, including programming and event questions, media inquiries or to make a gift to support this or related projects at the Glasscock School, please email gscsart@rice.edu.


References

  1. Bochner, M. (2009). In S. Cross & D. Markonish (Eds.), Sol LeWitt 100 Views (p. 20). North Adams, MA: MASS MoCA in association with Yale University Press.
  2. LeWitt, S. (1967, June). Paragraphs on conceptual art. Artforum, 5(10). Reprinted in Zevi, A. (Ed.) (1995), Sol LeWitt Critical Texts (Inclinazione all'arte ; 3) (pp. 78-82). Rome: Libri di AEIUO : Incontri Internazionali d'Arte.
  3. Joanna Marsh as quoted in Associated Press (2007, April 9). Sol LeWitt, Influential American Artist, at 78. Cape Cod Times. Retrieved July 18, 2019, from https://www.capecodtimes.com/article/20070409/NEWS/704090372
  4. Kimmelman, M. (2007, April 9). Sol LeWitt, Master of Conceptualism, Dies at 78. New York Times. Retrieved July 17, 2019, from https://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/09/arts/design/09lewitt.html?_r=1&adxnnl=1&oref=slogin&adxnnlx=1176204813-LrdUNPmPWisHnxJ1nFVssQ
  5. Ingrid Sischy as quoted in Bloom, L. (2019). Sol LeWitt: A Life of Ideas. (pp. xi). Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press.
  6. LeWitt, S. (1971). Doing wall drawings. Art Now, 3(2). Reprinted in Zevi, A. (Ed.) (1995), Sol LeWitt Critical Texts (pp. 95-96). Rome: Libri di AEIUO : Incontri Internazionali d'Arte.
  7. Thompson, J. C. (2009). Two surprises that should not have been. In S. Cross & D. Markonish (Eds.), Sol LeWitt 100 Views (p. 115). North Adams, MA: MASS MoCA in association with Yale University Press.
  8. Blackwood, M. (Director). (2001). Sol LeWitt: 4 Decades [Video file]. United States of America. Retrieved July 18, 2019, from https://www.michaelblackwoodproductions.com/project/sol-lewitt-4-decades/
  9. Ostrow, S. (2003, October 1). Sol LeWitt. Bomb. Retrieved July 18, 2019 from https://bombmagazine.org/articles/sol-lewitt/
  10. Cross, S. & Markonish, D. (2009). Foreword. In S. Cross & D. Markonish (Eds.), Sol LeWitt 100 Views (p. 7). North Adams, MA: MASS MoCA in association with Yale University Press.
  11. De Berg, H. (1977, March 27). Sol LeWitt interviewed by Hazel de Berg for the Hazel de Berg collection [Sound recording]. Sydney: National Library of Australia. Retrieved July 24, 2019 from https://nla.gov.au/nla.obj-220853908

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