artists & participants
April 19, 2011, NEW YORK, NY - Public Art Fund is pleased to announce Sol LeWitt: Structures, 1965-2006, the first outdoor career survey of Sol LeWitt’s sculptures—or ?structures? as he called his three-dimensional works. On view May 24 – December 2, 2011, the landmark exhibition will include 27 works from this seminal artist’s modular, serial, geometric, and irregular structures series that attest to his lifelong engagement with the medium and present his most important ideas about sculpture.
Just a few years after his death in 2007, Sol LeWitt remains one of our most significant and radical artists. He first found his artistic voice in his structures of the mid 1960s, giving rise to a career that would change the way we think about art. Spanning more than 40 years, this exhibition traces that evolution, revealing his remarkable and sustained artistic development. ?Public Art Fund has brought another impressive and thought-provoking installation to City Hall Park,? said Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. ?Sol LeWitt spent much of his career in New York City and for years had a studio on the Lower East Side. He drew his inspiration from our City, and I know New Yorkers and visitors who take in this first-of-its-kind collection of structures will be just as inspired by his work.?
Organized by Public Art Fund Director and Chief Curator Nicholas Baume, the exhibition features numerous large-scale pieces that audiences have never before been able to view together, including several major works installed publicly in the United States for the first time. With works on loan from museums; private collections and galleries in the United States, Europe, and Australia; and from the Estate of the artist, Sol LeWitt: Structures provides an opportunity for those already aware of his sculpture to see a unique overview of his achievement. It also introduces a broad public to the artist’s influential work and ideas in depth. ?City Hall Park and its environs in Lower Manhattan offer a perfect location to reconsider LeWitt’s structures,? said Baume. ?His geometric, white forms contrast with the organic, picturesque park setting, while they also resonate strongly with the surrounding Manhattan grid and the stepped profiles of its signature skyscrapers. The later work, with its complex and irregular forms, anticipates the vocabulary of more recent architecture, including Frank Gehry’s undulating new tower at 8 Spruce Street.?
For more than 30 years, Public Art Fund has presented works in City Hall Park, with the majority installed at the southern end. Sol LeWitt: Structures will extend an exhibition north to the lawns on the west side of City Hall and the Tweed Courthouse and to the plaza east of the Courthouse and across the street from the Manhattan Municipal Building. Two works will also be installed inside City Hall and will be accessible by tour.
The exhibition includes a selection of large modular structures from the 1960s to the 1990s. Derived from the basic module of an open-faced cube, these works suggest endless variations based upon a single, repeated element. Radical in conception when they were first created in the 1960s, these works represented a new methodology for how art could be made. Among the examples to be included in the exhibition are Modular Cube (1965), an early work in painted wood to be installed in the lobby of City Hall (accessible by tour). Increasingly large outdoor works include Large Modular Cube (1969), Double Modular Cube (1969), Three x Four x Three (1984), and One x Two Half Off (1991).
Another body of work demonstrates an idea crucial to LeWitt’s artistic development: seriality. The exhibition features a rare, 22-foot long example from the 1967 serial project, Three-Part Variations on Three Different Kinds of Cubes. Also included are nine works from the artist’s 122-part series, Incomplete Open Cubes, illustrating the full progression from three-part to 11-part open cubes and presenting a mini-survey of this body of work for the first time.
Following his exploration of cubic forms, LeWitt began working with concrete blocks to produce a range of geometric forms. Public Art Fund will reconstruct and present two of the most significant of these monumentally-scaled works, to be shown in New York for the first time. Tower (Columbus) (1990) will rise to more than 25 feet in height in view of the entrance to the Brooklyn Bridge.
After producing these diverse bodies of work based upon geometric forms, LeWitt began to explore irregular forms. Public Art Fund’s exhibition includes important examples of LeWitt’s angular Complex Forms from the 1980s and 90s, as well as five structures from his Star series. Bringing LeWitt’s sculptural evolution to a surprising climax, from minimalist monochrome grid to vibrant, organic form is one of his large polychrome Splotch structures from 2005.
WORKING WITH SOL The final talk of Public Art Fund’s spring series, New York Stories takes place Wednesday, May 4 at 6:30pm in The New School’s John Tishman Auditorium. This conversation among some of the people who worked most closely with the artist throughout his career, features gallerist Paula Cooper, artist Pat Steir, and Principal Assistant, Structures, Jeremy Ziemann, and is moderated by Nicholas Baume. To purchase tickets, visit www.publicartfund.org.
ABOUT THE ARTIST A leader in the movements of Minimalism and Conceptualism, Sol LeWitt’s work ranges from photography to works on paper to wall drawings, and includes 3-dimensional structures that explore different geometric forms such as pyramids and cubes. His work has been shown in hundreds of museums and galleries around the world, including his first retrospective, which was presented in 1978-79 by the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and current long-term exhibitions at MASS MoCA (Sol LeWitt: A Wall Drawing Retrospective) and Dia:Beacon (Sol LeWitt: Drawing Series…). His works are included in the collections of the Tate Modern, London; the Stedelijk van Abbemuseum, Amsterdam; Musée National d'Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Australian National Gallery, Canberra, Australia; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Dia:Beacon, New York; the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC. LeWitt died in New York City in 2007, at the age of 78.
SUPPORT Made possible by Forest City Ratner Companies, Agnes Gund, Jonathan Sobel and Marcia Dunn Foundation, The Pace Gallery, Tishman Construction Corporation, David Wine & Michael P. MacElhenny, and anonymous donors. Major support provided by Elise & Andrew Brownstein, Mickey Cartin, Virginia Dwan, Gladstone Gallery, James Cohan Gallery, Naomi Milgrom Kaldor & John Kaldor, Kraus Family Foundation, Jo Carole & Ronald S. Lauder, Ellen & George Needham, Paula Cooper Gallery, Linda & Andrew Safran, and an anonymous donor. Additional funding provided by James Keith Brown & Eric Diefenbach, Gabriella De Ferrari, Fifth Floor Foundation, Steven Henry & Philip Shneidman, The Joelson Foundation, and David Teiger. Public Art Fund gratefully acknowledges the partnership of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg; First Deputy Mayor Patricia E. Harris; Parks and Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe; and Cultural Affairs Commissioner Kate D. Levin. Special thanks to The LeWitt Estate.
Sol Le Witt
Kurator: Nicholas Baume