Sol LeWitt

Works on Paper

May 8 - June 19, 2009
465 W 23rd Street

NEW YORK – The Paula Cooper Gallery is very pleased to announce an exhibition of works on paper by Sol LeWitt at 465 West 23rd Street.  The exhibition will include works from the 1980s and 1990s in ink, gouache or pencil and will remain on view through June 26, 2009. On view concurrently at 521 West 21st Street (ground floor) will be a wall drawing from 1984.

The exhibition will focus primarily on geometric shapes and color, a recurring theme throughout LeWitt’s career.  Beyond his use of basic shapes like squares, circles, rectangles and cubes in drawings, wall drawings and sculpture, LeWitt also experimented with isometric forms and volumes, pyramids and trapezoids in ways that were simultaneously rigorous and playful.  Rendered in bold black and white or sensual colors, these deceptively simple drawings display an extraordinary variety.

On view at 521 West 21st Street is Wall Drawing No #418E (1984) a blue square on a yellow wall.  Like all of LeWitt’s wall drawings, it is an architecturally-scaled work executed directly on the wall by a team of assistants following the artist’s set of instructions.  Widely regarded as a leading exponent of Minimalism and Conceptual art, LeWitt stressed the importance of the idea behind a work over its execution and therefore entrusted the execution of his wall drawings to assistants.

Sol LeWitt was born in 1928 in Hartford, Connecticut, and graduated from Syracuse University in 1949.  In 1953 he moved to New York, where he worked several odd jobs, including the bookshop of the Museum of Modern Art, an occupation he credits for helping him find his vocation.  His work was first publicly exhibited in 1963 at St. Mark's Church, New York, and he had his first one-person show at the John Daniels Gallery in New York in 1965.

Since 1965, LeWitt has had hundreds of one-person exhibitions.  The Gemeentemuseum in The Hague presented his first retrospective exhibition in 1970, and his work was later shown in a major mid-career retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art, New York in 1978. His work has been featured in innumerable group exhibitions. LeWitt's pieces are in some of the most prestigious public collections in the world, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Centre National d’Art Moderne Georges Pompidou, Paris, the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, Turin’s Castello di Rivoli, the Moderna Museet Stockholm and the Tate Gallery, London, to name but a few.

Recently, LeWitt structures were exhibited in New York City as part of Splotches, Whirls, and Twirls on the roof garden of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; and in Madison Square Park, as part of Mad. Sq. Art: Sol LeWitt. In November 2008 Sol LeWitt: A Wall Drawing Retrospective opened at MassMOCA (Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art), and will remain on view for 25 years. A presentation of Sol LeWitt’s wall drawings from the 1960s through the mid-1970s is also currently on view at Dia: Beacon, Riggio Galleries until November 2009.  The exhibition highlights his monumental Drawing Series-Composite, Part I-IV, #1-24, A + B, which is on view for the first time in a four-color rendering.

Sol LeWitt died on April 8, 2007 in New York City. In 2010, the Yale University Art Gallery and Yale University Press will co-publish Sol LeWitt Wall Drawings: A Catalogue Raisonné.

Artist Pages: Estate of Sol LeWitt