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Mr. Burgher's Art Facts

Sol LeWitt

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Sol LeWitt: September 9, 1928-April 8, 2007...United States

"The idea becomes a machine that makes the art."
~Sol LeWitt

One of the founders of conceptual art was artist Sol LeWitt. His parents were Jewish immigrants from Russia who settled in Hartford, Connecticut. He would study at Syracuse University before serving in the United States Army. After his time in the Korean War, he resumed his art study at the Cartoonists and Illustrators School in New York. Working as a graphic designer for architect I. M. Pei, LeWitt soon used this influence to create three-dimensional cube-like works that were developed from precise geometric grids and modules. His ideas soon evolved to new medias. Some call his approach minimalist, but LeWitt would not have liked that title, “Minimalism wasn't a real idea - it ended before it started.”

By 1968 he was beginning to create wall paintings. These began as simple pencil drawings on a wall, but would evolve into geometric shapes that would be painted by teams of assistants. His written plans were created for the specific project and many considered these works to be temporary. “In my case, I used the elements of these simple forms: square, cube, line and color - to produce logical systems. Most of these systems were finite; that is, they were complete using all possible variations. This kept them simple.”


In 1980 LeWitt moved from New York to Spoleto, Italy. Since that time, many of his sculptural designs were created from a unique media, cinder blocks. In all these areas of his production we see the Conceptualism as a common thread: the work is more strongly based on the idea of what to make rather than the art object itself. “Every generation renews itself in its own way; there's always a reaction against whatever is standard.” His work inspired many other artists including Robert Ryman. LeWitt died from cancer in 2007. Although I am not a huge fan of this stream, I have great respect for LeWitt’s ability to evolve and move in new areas of art production that caught his fancy, “You shouldn't be a prisoner of your own ideas.”

Mr. Mike Burgher * PO Box 247 * Dallas Center, Iowa. 50063