Sol LeWitt wall drawing publicly unveiled at gallery opening, lecture

Wall art by Sol LeWitt, regarded as a founder of both Minimal and Conceptual art, is now on display in the Creative Art Center’s Robert and Elaine Stein Galleries.

Wall art by Sol LeWitt, regarded as a founder of both Minimal and Conceptual art, was publicly unveiled at Wright State University, an event highlighted by a lecture from a leading expert on LeWitt.

About 50 people attended the March 12 lecture by John Hogan, installation director and archivist of Sol LeWitt Wall Drawings housed at the Yale University Art Gallery. Hogan’s lecture was followed by the grand opening in the Creative Art Center’s Robert and Elaine Stein Galleries of the re-installation of a geometrical wall drawing originally overseen by LeWitt.

The work is titled “Wall Drawing #359” or “6 Geometric Figures.”

Hogan said the originating artist — whether physically present or not — and those who draw the work become collaborators in bringing the art to life. When the drawings are destroyed or taken down, the art isn’t lost, he said.

“The idea is the art, and the artifact can be recreated, preserving the integrity of the idea,” said Hogan, whose presentation of LeWitt wall drawings lecture was punctuated by the “Goldberg Variations BWV 988,” a work written for harpsichord by Johann Sebastian Bach.

The College of Liberal Arts events were part of Wright State’s tribute to Modern Art called “MODERN: Reimagining the New. A window into the making of the Modern Art movement.”

The prolific two- and three-dimensional art of LeWitt, who died in 2007, includes more than 1,200 wall drawings as well as hundreds of works on paper extending to structures in the form of towers, pyramids, geometric forms and progressions. The works range in size from gallery-sized installations to monumental outdoor pieces.

In 1981, a LeWitt wall drawing was installed at what is now the Trading Room in Wright State’s Rike Hall. It was done in India ink over the entire length of the 69-foot-long wall. The six geometric figures were intended to be drawn within the shape of a cube, but were instead drawn horizontally because of the shape of the wall.

As part of Wright State’s tribute to Modern Art, the reinstallation of the drawing at Stein Galleries consists of the same six geometric figures stacked in two horizontal rows to fit the location.

Visiting professional artists selected by the LeWitt Foundation with the help of Wright State faculty and students began drawing on Feb. 6. LeWitt rarely executed his own drawings, but rather provided explicit, detailed instructions on how they were to be drawn.

Video of the Hogan lecture video will be available at Wright State University’s CORE Scholar website in a few weeks. It will be accessible through the CELIA website.

The entire MODERN program is presented as part of CELIA’s Distinguished Visiting Artist Series with generous support from the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation.

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