Last week we went down to my favorite museum, MASS MoCA, for their 10th anniversary extravaganza. There was an opening for 3 new exhibitions, a black tie dinner (which we didn't go to), and a party with Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings. Best of all perhaps, we got to finally see the Sol LeWitt wall drawing retrospective.
MASS MoCA is built in 19th century factory buildings on a 13-acre campus. Only a portion of the buildings have been renovated and are in use. The retrospective is housed in an newly renovated building spanning 3 floors representing the 3 stages of LeWitt's work.
The wall drawings are deceptively simple in concept. The art is merely a set of instructions. They can be as simple as "The location of one hundred random specific points. (The locations are determined by the draftsman.)," but the execution is something entirely different. The exhibit took 65 people just about 6 months to install.
The result is breathtaking. Wall after wall of massively intricate pieces of art painted or drawn directly on the wall. At this point you are surely thinking, "If I have the instructions can't I just do it myself at home?" Studio 360 conveniently explored this topic the day before we saw the exhibit.
The official answer is that each drawing has an official certificate and if you sell the artwork, you hand over the certificate and have to paint over your wall. If you buy a LeWitt a team of official draftspeople come and install it on your wall of choice.
Between you and me, I'm thinking about drawing a Sol LeWitt in my house and I'm pretty sure it would make me happy too. This was the first time I really felt like I understood, not just appreciated, conceptual art and it was a really nice feeling.
I recommend everyone heads to North Adams and gets that really nice feeling. If you are too far away, MASS MoCA has a great web component to the retrospective and the catalog will be coming out in July (designed by friend of the blog and museum design director, Dan McKinley).
Also in this episode: speaking in (Klingon) tongues, Jill Sobule finds her long tail, and Design for the Real World tells us how to cubicle got so wrong.