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Collections X with Columns

Collections X with Columns

Title
X with Columns
Artist
Sol LeWitt
Date
1996
Dimensions
installed 168 × 312 × 312 inches
Materials
cinder block, concrete
Location
On view at the Walker Art Center

Object Details

Type
Sculpture
Accession Number
1996.135.1-.2
Inscriptions
not signed on sculpture; signed in black ink on reverse of 8 x 10" black and white photograph/certificate “This is a Certificate Sol Lewitt”
Physical Description
X-shaped cinderblock construction permanently installed in the sculpture garden
Printer
N.A.
Credit Line
Partial gift of the artist with funds provided by the Judy and Kenneth Dayton Garden Fund; materials provided by Anchor Block Company, 1996

artwork entry Sol LeWitt, Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, 1998

Conceptual artist Sol LeWitt has been well known since the 1960s for his sculpture, graphics, and wall drawings. An example of his cubic, modular sculpture is installed on the Walker’s roof terrace, and his Four Geometric Figures in a Room can be seen on the walls of the museum’s Garden Terrace Room. Concepts or ideas are the basic materials of LeWitt’s art, which often exists as a set of detailed instructions. As with a musical score or architectural blueprint, the realization of the final work is relegated to others. LeWitt uses the most neutral of materials—here, commercial cinder blocks—and rigorously deploys them in basic geometric configurations. Both the materials and forms he uses intentionally lack any expressive qualities in themselves. They are rather like “grammatical devices” in language, which take on significance only through their combination with one another in actual use. Like David Nash’s Standing Frame, LeWitt’s X with Columns provides frames through which views of the surrounding landscape are visible.

Jenkins, Janet, ed. Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. Minneapolis, MN: Walker Art Center, 1998, no. 37.

© 1998 Walker Art Center

curriculum resource Sol Lewitt, X with Columns (1996) Walker Art Center, 2002

“What the work of art looks like isn’t too important. It has to look like something, if it has physical form. No matter what form it may finally have, it must begin with an idea.”–Sol LeWitt, 1967

Well known since 1960s for his sculptures, graphics, and wall drawings, Sol LeWitt has been a major force in the artistic movement known as Conceptualism. Concepts or ideas are the basic materials of LeWitt’s art, which often exist as a set of detailed instructions. In “Conceptual Art,” he explains, “the idea or concept is the most important aspect of the work. When an artist uses a conceptual form of art, it means that all of the planning and decisions are made beforehand and the execution is a perfunctory affair.” After the artist develops a concept, a team of artisans fabricate the artwork by following a specified plan. In X with Columns, as in a number of his other works, LeWitt uses geometric forms and neutral materials–cinder blocks and concrete. The artist says that he was attracted to this unlikely medium “because it was a totally ‘non-art’ one” with no historical associations. The low-tech masonry process lends itself to the basic geometric shapes he favors.

Text for Sol Lewitt, X with Columns (1996), from the curriculum guide So, Why Is This Art?, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, 2002.

Copyright 2002 Walker Art Center

curriculum resource Sol Lewitt, X with Columns (1996) Walker Art Center, 1998

Well known since 1960s for his sculpture, graphics, and wall drawings, Sol LeWitt has been a major force in the artistic movement known as Conceptualism. Concepts or ideas are the basic materials of LeWitt’s art, which often exist as a set of detailed instructions. “In Conceptual Art,” he explains, “the idea or concept is the most important aspect of the work. When an artist uses a conceptual form of art, it means that all of the planning and decisions are made beforehand and the execution is a perfunctory affair.” After the artist develops a concept, a team of artisans fabricate the artwork by following a specified plan. In X with Columns, as in his other works, LeWitt uses geometric forms and neutral materials–cinder blocks and concrete. The artist says, “the most interesting characteristic of the cube is that it is relatively uninteresting. Compared to any other 3-D form, the cube lacks any aggressive force, implies no motion, and is least emotive.”

Text for Sol Lewitt, X with Columns (1996), from the curriculum guide The Minneapolis Sculpture Garden: A Garden for All Seasons, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, 1998.

Copyright 1998 Walker Art Center