Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Sol Lewitt at Mass MoCA

 By Charles Kessler

Sol Lewitt, A Wall Drawing Retrospective, Mass MoCA, on view for twenty-five years.
Some artists are hurt by retrospectives -- their work is revealed to be thin or repetitive or minor or just boring. Other artists, Sol Lewitt in this massive semi-permanent retrospective for example, are shown to have great range and substance.

I've seen a lot of Lewitt's art over the years, and even though I've usually liked it in a mild way, I think the mechanical generation of the work kind of put me off. To quote him: "The idea becomes the machine that makes the art."  (These timelapse videos show how the work was made.) But this show blew me away. I love that Lewitt didn't insist on a rigid consistency (e.g., only straight lines drawn on discrete squares or bands of four colors on white walls), but that he'd change his mind and experiment with different ideas (e.g., bright colors and curved lines). The work here is absolutely thrilling.

2 comments:

Kristine said...

Thank you from one who cannot get there to see the exhibit in person. Beautiful!

Charles Kessler said...

I hope you can see it because no photo can capture the excitement. It's a semi-permanent exhibition - they said they expect it to be there for twenty-five years - so maybe you will be able to see it in person someday.