In the past week, some 39 art students at the University of Texas have been employed to create four wall drawings by Sol LeWitt (1928-2007), the American artist who was an originator of conceptual art.
The drawings are part of the forthcoming exhibit “Converging Lines: Eva Hesse and Sol LeWitt,” opening Feb. 23 at the Blanton Museum of Art.
For LeWitt, a work of art was fundamentally the carrier of an idea rather than a precious object — something that could produced by others from a set of instructions, something open to interpretation that also undermines the hegemony of the artist’s own hand.
For his “Wall Drawing #797” LeWitt left these guidelines:
“The first drafter has a black marker and makes an irregular horizontal line near the top of the wall. Then the second drafter tries to copy it (without touching it) using a red marker. The third drafter does the same, using a yellow marker. The fourth drafter does the same using a blue marker. Then the second drafter followed by the third and fourth copies the last line drawn until the bottom of the wall is reached.”
Creation of the wall drawings for the Blanton exhibit is supervised by representative from the artist’s estate.
LeWitt’s artistic friendship with another signficant American artist, Eva Hesse (1936–1970), resulted in a mutal exchange of aesthetic influence now gets a fresh look by Blanton curator Veronica Roberts in “Converging Lines.”
Though LeWitt’s influence on Hesse is widely recognized by art historians, Roberts deftly unravels how Hesse’s considerable acheivements were an influence on LeWitt, even though the pair’s work differed greatly in style and even long after Hesse’s untimely death in 1970 at the age of 34.
Earlier this year, UT’s Landmarks public art program unveiled LeWitt’s “Wall Drawing #520” a permanent installation in the foyer of the new Dell Computer Science Hall and Bill and Melinda Gates Computer Science Center.