North Adams, MA: Sol LeWitt at MASS MoCA
Could North Adams, Massachusetts, become an international pilgrimage site for modern-art lovers? It’s an idea being pushed by the minds behind Sol LeWitt: A Wall Drawing Retrospective at MASS MoCA.
Their optimism is easy to understand when you wander the halls of the custom-renovated, three-story industrial building (#7) that houses the exhibit. The imposing wall drawings of the acclaimed artist — a native of Hartford, Connecticut — tower over visitors at every turn through the labyrinth-like gallery. Intrigued by the limitless combinations of lines, colors, and simple shapes, LeWitt became famous for constructing geometric patterns of startlingly simple beauty. Featuring 100 of his pieces (including a handful designed just before his death in 2007), the collection is the largest in the world and will be on display for the next 25 years.
The installation process was a feat unto itself. LeWitt believed that the essence of his art lay in the concept, not the execution. Like a composer writing sheet music, he would produce instructions detailing his vision, which others would then “perform.” More than 60 artists labored through his opuses for months, meticulously planning, measuring, and painting each work in an undertaking of singular collaboration. Although this symphony of brushstrokes is quiet now, it will be heard by untold thousands when the doors open on November 16.
SLIDE SHOW:Sol LeWitt’s works installed at MASS MoCA.
Read Yankee art critic Ed Beem’s review of the Sol LeWitt show at MASS MoCA.