For Valentine’s Day this year, Anuj and I went to the Sol LeWitt wall drawing retrospective at Mass MoCA. The show is massive and exhaustive, occupying multiple floors and tens of thousands of square footage in “Building #7” – one of Mass MoCA’s historic mills. It took us several hours just to get through it – snapping camera pics along the way and pausing to watch a video of the low-key LeWitt discussing his work.
I find his geometric drawings to be trippy and happy, despite the rigidity of their conception. They are mostly math or formula-based, and include detailed diagrams and instructions for replication and installation. He often invited other artists to install, or draw, his work for him – not because he was too lazy or important to do it himself, but because to him, the Idea was as much the art as the Execution (MassMoCA hired 65 artists to install the retrospective – it took 6 months).
The curators have included LeWitt’s instructions/diagrams next to many of the drawings, which has the effect of not only getting inside his head, but discovering the ‘secret’ of each piece. It’s not unusual to see early sketches of a painting on display at a retrospective, but to see an idea go from numbers to colors – from logic to emotion – is really cool.
All photos: massmoca.org.
If you’re in the Berkshires anytime in the next, oh, twenty-four years (it closes in 2033), do stop by Mass MoCA and devote a few hours to this amazing LeWitt retrospective.