Sol Lewitt

When Sol Lewitt died in 2007, he was working on a series of process oriented scribble drawings. Lewitt, who drew out the plans for his drawings and then let his apprentices and trainees execute them, never had a chance to see some of these drawings come to life. Now, Mass Moca is hosting an in-progress Sol Lewitt wall drawing retrospective, an exhibition that will include never-before-realized, premeditated scribbling. While the exhibition doesn’t technically open until November 16th, the pre-exhibition process is well under way and patrons are able to follow its progress on the museum website and on its youtube page.

“We’re scribbling very, very consciously,” says Sol Lewitt professional Michael Benjamin Vedder, an artist who has made a career out of executing drawings like those he’s working on for the retrospective. The drawing process has the collaborative feeling of mural painting and graffiti art – the apprentices, interns and professionals work at a low-key, but disciplined pace and the walls around change from blank spaces to geometric and tonal seas of mark making.

According to another Lewitt professional, Takeshi Arita, the art world’s focus on Lewitt’s late career drawings is misleading: “We’re working for the scribble drawings, but I don’t know if it’s necessary to emphasize it’s the last piece. My understanding is that he was still working on progress.” According to Arita, Lewitt would finish one drawing and then his interest would move to the next project. Fortunately, that’s the way this retrospective works: one drawing moves into another and then into another.

The retrospective was collaboratively organized by Mass Moca, Yale University Art Gallery, and Williams College Museum of Art.