A cube with scribble bands in four directions
534 W 21st Street
NEW YORK—The Paula Cooper Gallery is honored to open the fall season with an exhibition of works by Sol LeWitt (1928–2007). The gallery will present A Cube with scribble bands in four directions, one direction on each face, a large-scale cubic structure with graphite wall drawings. This work was conceived especially for this exhibition and is one of the last the artist conceived in his lifetime.
A Cube with scribble bands in four directions consists of scribbled graphite bands of alternating density drawn directly onto the four faces of a large 16-foot cube. It belongs to a series of scribbled pencil wall drawings begun in 2005. The work strikes a perfect balance between the simplicity and order of geometry and the perceptual, almost optical, magnetism of the scribbled bands, whose rising and falling undulations create captivating effects of light and volume. A Cube with scribble bands in four directions is in many ways a culmination of lifelong themes of LeWitt’s work. LeWitt’s well-known practice of creating wall drawings dates from 1968, when the first was exhibited at Paula Cooper Gallery in SoHo. With wall drawings, LeWitt called into question ideas of permanence (the walls could eventually be painted over), uniqueness (the drawing could be remade elsewhere) and authorship (though the concept was his, the execution was given over to assistants). In this respect, the wall drawings represent a radical development for the history of drawing in the 20th century. In the catalogue of LeWitt’s 1978 retrospective at MoMA, Bernice Rose wrote that the practice “was as important for drawing as Pollock’s use of the drip technique had been for painting in the 1950s”. The cube, a shape that pervades LeWitt’s work and forms its essential grammar since the 1960s, is combined here with the bands in four directions, with which LeWitt experimented in numerous wall drawings, drawings and prints, and which demonstrate his interest in serial systems derived from simple permutations. In the recent series of scribbled graphite pieces, LeWitt returns to pencil, the medium of his early wall drawings, and a renunciation of color, which had been a major element in his work since the 1980s.
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 at 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