Sol LeWitt: Oblique Complex Forms

The prolific career of American artist Sol LeWitt is poignantly marked in Paula Cooper Gallery’s current exhibition. On view until 22 October, the show illuminates the pioneering scope of the artist’s oeuvre through a series of key pieces including monumental wall drawings in India ink and Styrofoam; encyclopaedic studies in photography; tectonic open structures and oblique complex forms; as well as prints and works on paper.

Born in 1928, LeWitt continued to work up until his death in 2007. After studying a BFA at Syracuse University (1949), he worked as a graphic designer for I.M Pei’s architecture office in New York. In 1960, LeWitt took a job at MoMA, New York, at the book counter where his co-workers included Robert Ryman, Dan Flavin and Robert Mangold, situating him in the midst of young artists searching for a new direction in art. A pivotal figure in the creation of the new radical aesthetic of the 1960s, LeWitt focused on the importance of the concept over narrative or descriptive imagery.

Spread throughout the gallery, the presentation addresses LeWitt’s experimentation with a diverse range of mediums. At 534 West 21st Street, the vigorous broad stripes of Wall Drawing #368 (1982) adorn the interior of the space to create a seductive and vibrant expanse. Two Styrofoam wall drawings (1993) constructed from irregular polystyrene fragments compliment the piece, whilst the striking angles and sleek planes of Complex Form #65 (1989) juxtapose sharply with the assemble.

Elsewhere, at 521 West 21st Street, complimentary exhibition Sol LeWitt/Liz Deschenes (on view until 8 October) featured new work by Liz Deschenes in dialogue with a selection of serialised photographic works by LeWitt –including Autobiography (1980), Cut Maps (1976), A sphere lit from the top, four sides, and all their combinations (2004) and Cube (1997). A showcase of prints by LeWitt are on display at 192 Books, New York.

Sol LeWitt, until 22 October, Paula Cooper Gallery, 534 W 21ST Street, New York.

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1. Sol LeWitt, Wall Drawing #368. First Drawn by: Jo Watanabe and others. First Installation: Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN, January 1982, India Ink, dimensions variable.