|A row of hanging upside down trees greet you before you enter the museum! Why am I always there at a time of the year when they have no leaves? Reminder to self: Go to MASS MoCA in the summertime!|
|Me. Overwhelmed by the huge wall drawings in the Sol Lewitt Retrospective. I have greatly cropped the wall drawing behind me for this photo.|
When my son was little, he loved driving around little matchbox cars. A wall like this in his room would have been great; all those black lines would make great roads for little cars!
My son thought the lines in this piece looked like lips and butts. I also saw sewing needles. Below is a closeup of the lines in this work.
Two walls of straws
The piece below is a small section of a piece, consisting of...well... lines. The 'artists' who drew the piece on the wall were given Sol Lewitt's directions about how many lines to draw, and information about where lines should go from/to, but a lot of the decisions were made by the actual draftsmen.
The painting below is a carefully organized progression of colors. As in many of the other colorful pieces, the paint is an acrylic ink applied with rags in layers to achieve the desired tones. The color progression started with gray, then the primaries, then the primaries mixed with the gray, then the primaries mixed to make secondaries, then the secondaries mixed with the gray, then all of the primaries mixed together, and then all the primaries mixed with the gray. The last two sections are missing from my photo.
So, are you still with me? I promised to share some of the provocative discussion I had with husband and son as we viewed this exhibit, and watched a short video about the production of the pieces in the show. I told you we had some discussion about the meaning of the word 'artist' which I have put quote marks around in paragraphs above, as well. So here goes...
The exhibit is a retrospective of Sol Lewitt's work. But the actual drawings on the walls were created by others, according to his specifications. But his specifications were not always totally specific. For example, the specs for one piece might say to draw a certain # of straight lines and a certain # of curved lines that intersect in a specific # of places, but then it is up to the person who puts it on the wall to determine exactly where those lines go. The people who drew and painted these lines and colors all over the walls were referred to in the video as artists. There was a huge wall-size chart of who was doing what, and when. It was complex choreography. But is someone an artist who simply places colors on a wall according to specs? Or are they just draftsmen/ladies? Or is someone an artist who simply gives someone specs to follow but doesn't actually paint or draw the colors and lines? Who is the artist here? The person with the creative inspiration, or the people who brings that inspiration to life? What do you think?
We couldn't come to an agreement, but we did nevertheless enjoy the lively fun colorful work. Meanwhile, I'll be talking more about the nature of art when I post again, in a couple of days, about the other work that we saw in the museum.
Please weigh in with your opinions! I'll close here with a couple of visual reflection photos from the museum. By the way, all these photos were shot with a Canon Powershot point and shoot camera.