Updated Release January 2008
Beacon, NY—Dia Art Foundation presents an exhibition of early wall drawings by Sol LeWitt at Dia:Beacon, Riggio Galleries, from September 16, 2006, through September 2010. “Drawing Series…,” a presentation of fourteen key works from the late 1960s through the mid-1970s, comprises a selection of wall drawings, chosen, sequenced, and sited by the artist specifically for the galleries at Dia:Beacon.
In the late 1960s, LeWitt articulated a set of aesthetic principles through two key texts that would form the basis of his practice: Paragraphs on Conceptual Art (1967) and Sentences on Conceptual Art (1969). In 1969, he began to use these precepts as guidelines for two-dimensional works drawn directly on the wall. Now numbering over 1,200, the wall drawings occupy a central position in LeWitt’s distinguished career. LeWitt’s version of conceptual art began with an idea from which he developed a pre-set plan, set of instructions or rules which were then carried out in the most straightforward way possible. Nevertheless, many of the works in “Drawing Series. . .” display LeWitt’s readiness to capitalize on circumstance—on the quirks of a particular architectural situation, on the skills and inventiveness of his assistants, or on the different results produced by substituting one material for another. Light-toned and evenly applied, the lines create grids, patterns, and diagrams of varying tonality. LeWitt utilized such media as colored pencil, crayon, and chalk, as well as a variety of linear directives including: straight and wavy; even and uneven; touching and not touching; random and ordered; arcs and circles; and triangles and squares to incarnate the idea. Conceived via pre-set instructions and executed by teams of assistants, these wall drawings eliminate arbitrary, expressive, and subjective actions and eschew traces of hand or taste, yet each instantiation is unique and often unpredictable.
Seen in combination with other works by the artist at Dia:Beacon, “Drawing Series. . .” illuminates the scope and complexity of the artist’s vocabulary. A particular highlight of the exhibition is the monumental four-color rendering of Drawing Series—Composite, Part I–IV, #1–24, A+B (1969), realized for the first time for this exhibition. The graphite version of this work, on view in an adjacent gallery, is part of Dia’s permanent collection. The exhibition is also complemented by three of LeWitt’s later gouache wall drawings and an important early sculpture, 1 2 3: All Three-Part Variations on Three Different Kinds of Cubes (1967/2003).
A series of public and educational outreach initiatives will accompany “Drawing Series. . .” These include the show’s inclusion in a specially designed curriculum for Dia:Beacon’s Arts Education Program for elementary, middle, and high school students that will incorporate interactions with, and activities around, the LeWitt works.
This exhibition is made possible through the generosity of the New York State Council on the Arts.
Sol LeWitt was born in Hartford, Connecticut, in 1928, and attended Syracuse University. After serving in the Korean War as a graphic artist, he moved, in 1953, to New York, where he worked as a draftsman for the architect I. M. Pei. LeWitt had his first solo exhibition at the Daniels Gallery, New York, in 1965, and the following year Dwan Gallery, New York, mounted the first in a series of solo exhibitions. He participated, during the late 1960s and early 1970s, in several significant group exhibitions of Minimalist and Conceptual art, including "Primary Structures," at the Jewish Museum, New York, in 1966, and "When Attitude Becomes Form," at the Kunsthalle Bern, Switzerland, in 1969. His renowned text "Paragraphs on Conceptual Art" was published in 1967. LeWitt's work was included in Documentas 6 (1977) and 7 (1982) in Kassel, as well as the 1987 Skulptur Projekte in Münster and the 1989 Istanbul Biennial. Major retrospectives of his works were organized by the Museum of Modern Art, New York, in 1978, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, in 2000. "Drawing Series..." a presentation of LeWitt's early wall drawings was installed at Dia:Beacon in 2006. Sol LeWitt died on April 8, 2007 in New York City.
Dia:Beacon, Riggio Galleries
Dia:Beacon, Dia Art Foundation’s museum in the Hudson Valley, presents a distinguished collection of contemporary art from the 1960s to the present. Situated on the banks of the Hudson River in Beacon, New York, the museum occupies a former Nabisco box-printing facility, which was renovated by Dia with artist Robert Irwin and architect OpenOffice.
Dia:Beacon’s expansive galleries comprise 240,000 square feet of exhibition space illuminated by natural light. The museum houses works by a focused group of some of the most significant artists of the last half century, including Bernd and Hilla Becher, Joseph Beuys, Louise Bourgeois, John Chamberlain, Walter De Maria, Dan Flavin, Michael Heizer, Robert Irwin, Donald Judd, On Kawara, Imi Knoebel, Sol LeWitt, Agnes Martin, Bruce Nauman, Blinky Palermo, Gerhard Richter, Robert Ryman, Fred Sandback, Richard Serra, Robert Smithson, Andy Warhol, and Lawrence Weiner.
Programming at the museum includes a series of year-long temporary exhibitions as well as public programs designed to complement the collection and exhibitions, including monthly Gallery Talks, music performances by St. Luke’s Chamber Ensemble, Readings in Contemporary Literature, Community Free Days for neighboring counties and an education program that serves area students at all education levels.
Dia:Beacon is easily reachable via Metro-North Railroad. The Hudson Line station in Beacon is within walking distance of the museum. Trains depart hourly from Grand Central Terminal in New York City. For schedule and fare information, please visit the MTA’s website at www.mta.nyc.ny.us. The museum is also reachable by major roadways. Driving directions are available on Dia’s website at www.diaart.org. Admission is $10 general, $7 for students and seniors, and free for Dia members and children under 12. Current summer hours are 11 am to 6 pm, Thursday–Monday, through October 16, 2006. Winter hours are 11 am to 4 pm, Friday through Monday. The public information line for the museum is (845) 400-0100.
Dia Art Foundation
A nonprofit institution founded in 1974, Dia Art Foundation is internationally renowned for initiating, supporting, presenting, and preserving art projects. Dia presents public programs and its permanent collection of works from the 1960s through the present at Dia:Beacon, Riggio Galleries, in New York’s Hudson Valley. Since opening in spring 2003, Dia:Beacon has received more than 350,000 visitors. Beginning in the fall of 2007, Dia presents commissions and projects by contemporary artists at The Hispanic Society of America while it seeks a permanent home for these initiatives in New York City. Additionally, the foundation maintains long-term, site-specific projects in the western United States, in New York City, and in Bridgehampton on Long Island. For additional public information, visit www.diaart.org.
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