Noted conceptual artist and distinguished alumnus Sol LeWitt (G 1953 Illustration) passed away this week, at the age of 78. LeWitt is perhaps best known for works that he himself did not complete—he would provide detailed instructions for how to draw a specific piece, and then leave it to the gallery, museum, collector or his assistants to actually execute the instructions on a surface and produce the final artwork. One such drawing, 3 Foot Square with Copied Lines in Color (2004), is on a wall in the College’s Visual Arts Gallery.
According to Silas H. Rhodes, founder and chairman of SVA, “Sol LeWitt was an illustrious disciple of Duchamp,” one who challenged notions of what art could be and revealed a dry humor through his conceptual works. Tom Huhn, chair of the Art History and BFA Visual and Critical Studies Departments, agrees: “LeWitt’s particular genius is that he expanded the breadth of conceptual art while lightening its gravity. Concepts being naturally weighty things, his signal achievement is to have deployed them artistically with such a light, flexible touch.” The body of work LeWitt leaves behind fuses illustration, graphic design, sculpture and architecture into a singular style that will remain an important benchmark of conceptual art.