Sol LeWitt: Concrete Block
December 17, 1999—February 27, 2000
P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center presents Sol LeWitt: Concrete Block, works by the American artist Sol LeWitt (b.1928), one of the main representatives of Minimalism and subsequently Conceptual art. Organized by P.S.1 Director Alanna Heiss and P.S.1 Senior Curator Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, this exhibition maps LeWitt's art-making process, from preliminary drawings, followed by precisely crafted wooden models, to completed outdoor cinder block sculptures, with one work rising more than twenty-one feet high.
Throughout his artistic career, LeWitt’s work has explored ways in which shapes and numbers can be arranged through repetition, variation, and permutation. His art is often comprised of simple grid-like geometric forms and open modular structures designed in infinite combinations. LeWitt began to design models for outdoor public sculptures in the early 1980s. In 1985, the first cement Cube was built in a park in Basel. Since then, interpretations of these concrete block structures have been created in various locations around the world. Sol LeWitt: Concrete Block focuses on this particular body of work with completed structures designed specifically for P.S.1’s outdoor courtyard and exhibited alongside preliminary drawings and models in the museum’s second floor gallery.
P.S.1’s outdoor galleries feature two new outdoor “monuments.” These sculptures by LeWitt, both entitled Concrete Block, are made of 8" x 8" x 16" cinder blocks, a common, inexpensive building material. The larger structure, an irregular aggregation of towers made up of 563 cinder blocks, points to the shared grounds as well as the differences that exist between sculpture and architecture. A second structure, also made of cinder blocks, will be exhibited in the small outdoor gallery neighboring its larger counterpart.
In an attempt to both explore the history of LeWitt's public projects and to record his long-lasting relationship with P.S.1, the artist has recreated Crayola Square, a Crayola crayon wall drawing originally created in 1971 at the Brooklyn Bridge Event. The event was organized by P.S.1 Founder and Director Alanna Heiss, and was the inaugural exhibition for The Institute for Art and Urban Resources, known today as P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center. Crayola Square is on view in the basement of P.S.1.
A major retrospective of LeWitt’s work will open on February 18, 2000 at San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and travel to New York in November 2000, at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Elsewhere in New York, Lewitt is currently showing drawings at Paula Cooper Gallery, and his wall-drawings have been included in the Museum of Modern Art’s MoMA2000 exhibition (opening October 7) and in the second half of the Whitney’s American Century exhibition (open September 26).
Sol LeWitt: Concrete Block has been made possible through the generous support of Maria Rosa and Gilberto Sandretto.