Sol LeWitt (1928-2007) was an American artist, linked to various art movements such as Conceptual Art and Minimalism (1). LeWitt was in the forefront of a radical aesthetic practice, reacting to the Abstract Expressionism movement of the 60s. His work is said to advocate equality, accessibility, open exchange, and public space, all core elements of democracy. Emphasising the importance of the concept or idea, his works are executed by others to strict instructions. LeWitt’s wall drawings redefined the way by which art could be purchased and owned, criticising the proprietary rights imposed by his fellow artists. LeWitt regarded copying as “the most sincere form of flattery” and insisted that anyone could copy his wall drawings, as long as the copier follows his instructions (2).
LeWitt also valued the processual aspects of making art, stating that “If the artist carried through his idea and makes it into visible form, then all the steps in the process are of importance. The idea itself, even if not made visual, is as much a work of art as any finished product.” (3) In June 1967 he published his “Paragraphs on Conceptual Art” in Artforum, where he wrote “All intervening steps, scribbles, sketches, drawings, failed work models, studies thoughts, conversations, are of interest. Those that show the thought process of the artist are sometimes more interesting than the final product” (4).
LeWitt has been and continues to be a strong influence on new generations of young artists, including myself.
(1) Wikipedia.org. 2011. Sol Lewitt. Available from URL: <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sol_Lewitt#cite_note-0. Downloaded [08.02.2011].
(2) Garrels, Gary, ed. 2000. Sol Lewitt: A Retrospective. pp. 369-371. New Haven and London: Yale University Press
(3) Lisson Gallery. Sol Lewitt. Available from URL http://www.lissongallery.com/#/artists/sol-lewitt/works/. Downloaded [08.02.2011].
(4) Lewitt, Sol. “Paragraphs on Conceptual Art”. Artforum Vol. 5, no. 10, Summer 1967, pp 79-83. Available in parts from URL: http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=SWu4SB92fHMC&pg=PA846&lpg=PA846&dq=sol+lewitt+art+in+theory&source=bl&ots=rRtBBwoIPo&sig=7caOOwL0wSneseAtmd2WvlZyIKE&hl=en&ei=6HZRTYfYGcbOswbfoPjWBg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=3&ved=0CB0Q6AEwAg#v=onepage&q=paragraphs%20on%20conceptual%20art&f=false
(5) Foster, Hal, Rosalind Krauss, Yves-Alain Bois and Benjamin H.D. Buchloch. 2004. Art Since 1900. London: Thames & Hudson. pp 470-474.