Sol LeWitt was born on the 9th of September 1928 and died recently on the 8th of April 2007. LeWitt was an American artist linked to various art movements including conceptual art and minimalism.

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Wall Drawing no. 681 1993

Although he has worked extensively in drawing and printmaking, he is usually considered to be primarily a sculptor. LeWitt works with modules and systems, and his early wall drawings are based on grids, he is sometimes described as a Minimal artist, but his work, especially his recent work, is usually colorful and often quite complex. It is also optimistic and beautiful.  LeWitt began exhibiting in New York in the early 1960s and since then has had many exhibitions in galleries and museums around the world. 

LeWitt was one of the key artists of the 1960s. His work bridges Minimal and Conceptual art, movements that abandoned the emphasis on psychological content and gestural form typifying Abstract Expressionism in the 1950s. In a seminal text in written in 1967 titled “Paragraphs on Conceptual Art,” LeWitt emphasized his view of art:

 “No matter what form it may finally have it must begin with an idea,” and, “When an artist uses a conceptual form of art, it means that all of the planning and decisions are made beforehand and the execution is a perfunctory affair. The idea becomes a machine that makes the art”.

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Bars of Colour within Squares

Bars of Colour within Squares (MIT) was the first major public work by Sol LeWitt to be completed since his death in April 2007.  LeWitt designed a 5,500-square-foot floor for the U-shaped atrium of MIT’s Physics, Department of Materials Science and Engineering, and Spectroscopy Lab Infrastructure Project that will house the Physics Department and provide a new “front door” for the Department of Materials Science and Engineering.  LeWitt’s design consists of 15 large squares of vibrantly colored geometric patterns that shift ambiguously between flatness and the illusion of depth.  Each block is approximately 18-feet square; and the work’s bold colors are realized in glass and epoxy terrazzo that was poured in place.  LeWitt’s atrium floor is visible from many viewpoints as people move in and around the new building.

LeWitt made an idea and created a sequence of instructions. His assistants followed them. The idea made the art. 

“In my case, I used the elements of these simple forms – square, cube, line and colour – to produce logical systems. Most of these systems were finite; that is, they were complete using all possible variations. This kept them simple” – Le Witt

Personally I love the simple shapes and simple colors LeWitt used in his work. LeWitt was a sculptor and painter inspired in part by a photographer, Eadweard Muybridge, who worked in the late 19th century. “I’ve long had a strong affinity toward Muybridge”, LeWitt told NPR in 1991. “A lot of his ideas appear in my work”.

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