Tuesday, October 25, 2016

From the mind of Sol LeWitt: Crystal Bridges 'Loopy Doopy': A correction

Posted By on Tue, Oct 25, 2016 at 3:44 PM


Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art is installing Sol LeWitt's 70-foot eye-crosser "Wall Drawing 880: Loopy Doopy," waves of complementary orange and green, on the outside of the Twentieth Century Gallery bridge. You can glimpse painters working on it from Eleven, the museum's restaurant, museum spokeswoman Beth Bobbitt said; it opens to the public Nov. 7. That's the day before the General Election, of course, so Crystal Bridges has apparently timed the opening to coincide with this year's jarring presidential election.

The installation, which LeWitt conceived in 1998, is a loan, Bobbitt said. Bobbitt said that to the conceptual artist the idea of the work — painted directly on the wall — was paramount. The work, then, can be in more than one place at a time. The MASS MoCa, which has a significant collection of LeWitt's work, installed the piece in 2013 and it is still on view. 

From the Crystal Bridges website:
LeWitt, an early leader in conceptual art, had created wall drawings (he always referred to them as “drawings,” even though later ones are made of acrylic paint) for decades, totaling some 1,200 before his death in 2007. Ever evolving through their different iterations in varying locations, these drawings redefine what an art object is and how it lives in a cultural institution. Painting directly onto a wall is, of course, not new. In response to a description of the artist as the “originator of wall drawings,” Sol LeWitt replied, “I think the cave men came first.” 
A note on the MASS MoCa website about "Wall Drawing 880" says the optical effect of the painting makes it hard for the painters to apply the final touch ups. For most of the installation, only one color is visible at a time, as the time-lapse video above illustrates.

LeWitt partially donated the work to the Addison Gallery of American Art in Andover, Mass.; private gifts made up the rest of the acquisition price.

MASS MoCa, which was designed by Moshe Safdie, as was Crystal Bridges, and has curving walls, as does Crystal Bridges, has installed LeWitt "drawings" on its curves, giving the work even more vitality, an L.A. Times reviewer once wrote. Maybe CBMAA could reverse its chronology, and bring the 20th and 21st century work out of their flat-walled galleries and into the rounded ones of the Early American galleries. Just a thought, but not a serious one.

CORRECTION: Sadly spoiling my attempt at humor in the above paragraph, my misreading of the L.A. Times article was pointed out to me by MASS MoCa: Mosha Safdie's curved wall referred to in the piece is in the federal courthouse in Springfield, Mass., not the museum. MASS MoCa does have a LeWitt, but not on a curved wall.

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