|Etching, aquatint on paper. 1987.|
Okay, it's this week now! This morning in OAD we discussed the merits of this piece as well as several others, with the Marina Abramovic piece generating the best debate vis-a-vis "Is It Art?"
I said much of this in class, but here it is in writing, for points, because that's how school works:
I find this Sol LeWitt piece , like many of Sol LeWitt's pieces, boring and ugly. It's just four triangles on a grey background, and there's little in the colors or the composition to capture or hold my interest. It's a blah piece, and if I'd seen it on its own on a museum wall I would have walked right past.
But I didn't see it alone. I saw it as part of the Walker's recent Sol LeWitt exhibition. I saw it in its proper place, as one of a series. Here are a couple more from that series:
And because I saw it in a series, and because I saw it in the context of Sol LeWitt's larger body of work, I saw it as art. I see it as art. This assignment was an excellent reminder of how important context is in determining what art is, and what art is not. These pieces, with their repetition and their reliance on simple forms, fit so well into the artist's oeuvre. His work, as some random Wikipedia person put it, "is not about the singular hand of the artist; it is the ideas behind the works that surpass each work itself." Of course, it is easy for the ideas to surpass the work when the work is as ugly as this one. (Some of the other pyramids, like the ones above, incorporate a more attractive color scheme; the one with the yellow background is my favorite. We must also remember that these pieces are from the eighties, when some of these colors were a little more au courant than they are today.)
One of the main failures of this piece, in my opinion, is that the idea behind the work is not particularly apparent. Is this a color study? A shape study? I'm not sure what Sol LeWitt was aiming at when he made these pyramids. There was a Sol LeWitt quote on one of the walls at the Walker. I didn't write it down, but it went something like this: "It is meaningless. That is art."
Sometimes, I guess meaningless is enough to satisfy me, so long as there's lots of meaningless stuff on display, an entire life's work worth of meaningless stuff.