This book, based on a posthumous exhibition presented by the Public Art Fund in New York City, surveys the three-dimensional work of Sol LeWitt, better known for Conceptual works and wall paintings. There are essays by the primary contributor, Nicholas Baume, as well as Jonathan Flatley, Rachel Haidu Anna Lovatt, Joe Madura, and Kirsten Swenson, as well as an interview that Baume conducted with the artist in 2000.
The exhibition itself was held in City Hall Park in lower Manhattan, demonstrating the relevance of Lewitt’s geometries within an urban frame. But LeWitt’s aims were always conceptual, and this book negotiates the territory between the intentions of the artist and the presence of the works in a particularly effective way.
First, the photographs are amazing, both the numerous color plates of the exhibition and the smaller number of historical images (which provide an excellent context for the show itself). Secondly, the essays provide an intellectual context vital for the understanding of the work. And though it was clear all along that the monochromatic quality of the artist’s three-dimensional work was a dominant element in his work as a whole, the bright color of the “Splotch” works gives an additional life and vibrancy to the project as a whole.
For fans of LeWitt’s sculpture, this is an essential volume. For an art history, more broadly speaking, it’s a benchmark for the presentation of a sculptor’s life work, both in the outdoor exhibition and in the visual and scholarly elements of the book itself.
Sol LeWitt: Structures 1965–2006
by Nicholas Baume
New York and New Haven: Public Art Fund and Yale University Press, 2011
192 pages, numerous color illustrations
$50 ISBN: 978-0300178616