Over the course of his career Sol LeWitt (1928-2007) did scores of artist’s pages or page-works, works of art made for reproduction and distribution in books and magazines. A canonical figure associated with minimalism and conceptual art, LeWitt worked in a wide range of media. Through the page-works, one can survey the facets and chapters of his oeuvre.
Whether in graphic, sculptural, or linguistic form, LeWitt’s work is one of ideas. In his words, “art is a vehicle for the transmission of ideas through form.” LeWitt developed his ideas into rule-based instructions through which to explore variations and permutations of such forms. His work is characterized by the integrity of and dedication to the idea used to generate the work. For him, “the reproduction of the form only reinforces the concept.” Toward that end, photomechanical reproduction and offset printing were central to his practice from the outset to the end of his career.
LeWitt was extremely progressive in this regard. Not only were artists’ books of utmost importance, but with respect to page-works, the work itself was in its reproduction and distribution to the extent that the art did not exist until the publication in which the page-work was to appear was designed, printed, and put into circulation. The source material, or original, used to generate the page-work was not privileged over its reproduction, which is itself a work of art.
This exhibition features over 40 publications. A survey of LeWitt’s career, the exhibition also doubles as a survey of publications ranging from journals and trade magazines (Artforum, Studio International, Tema Celeste, TriQuarterly) to artist publications (the Art & Project Bulletin, Noise, Unmuzzled Ox, Extra, Vision, Avalanche, VH101, Double Page, Cahier Intempestifs, 0 to 9). Together, these publications were crucial in defining conceptual art as a movement, one that achieved articulation in print media as much as it did through gallery exhibitions proper. Moreover, print media is often where the post-War avant-garde’s radical nature can be grasped in more distilled fashion.
This exhibition also marks the first of LAXART’s Interlude series. Running from two to four weeks, the Interludes will examine discrete and critical bodies of work. Interlude: Sol LeWitt Page-Works 1967-2007 brings its printed materials together for the first time. This series is being initiated with an ambitious albeit historical exhibition that is granular in its approach to culture. This exhibition series is pause to accommodate elusive forms of cultural production that otherwise fall between the cracks.
Lead support for this exhibition is provided by the Danielson Foundation.