it is part of the collective unconscious - this impulse to draw on
walls. Some strange combination of self-expression and the
desire to mark territory. The impulse goes back to Lascaux,
reaches an apogee in Italian Renaissance frescoes, and continues
with graffiti art today. The wall, barrier or protection, is
now also a canvas.
Sol Lewitt contributed to the storied history of this ancient artform by
producing some 1,200 wall drawings. MoMA currently has
on view the very large Drawing #260, subtitled, "on
black walls, all two-part combinations of white arcs from corners
and sides, and white straight, not-straight, and broken lines."
played with the idea of visual rhythm and serial systems.
The artist as composer, the painting as score, the art-assistants
the musicians. In Drawing #260, the composition consists
of four basic geometric elements of arcs and lines. They are
combined following instructions set down by Lewitt,
but the formulas are flexible and the painting is interpreted
slightly differently each time it is recreated by a team of
assistants. Perhaps the closest art has come to music….
use of black-and-white is particularly interesting as many of
Lewitt's minimalist and conceptualist drawings are colorful and
lively: bold stars, geometric shapes, or Rorschach-like bursts of
color. LeWitt noted, "The black wall gives a feeling of
enclosure. The white lines maintain their grid and by
changing offer clues to the system. The plan is always
presented so that the viewer will know that the changes are not
capricious but systematic, becoming a language and a narrative of
shapes." The painting itself is like a large blackboard
filled with beautiful abstract formulae. Time to stop at MoMA for
a math lesson!
Sol Lewitt, MoMA