Sol LeWitt: Wall Drawings


The film will be introduced by Janet Passehl, Curator of the LeWitt Collection

During the four decades of his career, Sol LeWitt produced more than 1200 wall drawings using a deliberately limited repertoire of lines and geometric shapes to create works of remarkable complexity.

Born in 1928 in Hartford, Connecticut, LeWitt is considered one of the key pioneers of conceptual art. His belief that the idea that generates the work of art is more important than its execution redefined art making.

Sol LeWitt’s decision to utilize other artists to install his wall drawings in architecturally diverse spaces informs the execution of his works. Like a musical score, his wall drawings play differently each time they are produced.

This film takes as its focus the retrospective of LeWitt’s wall drawings at MASS MoCA in North Adams, Massachusetts, which opened for a 25 year run in November 2008. The exhibition includes 105 works from 1968–2008, installed posthumously, on roughly 40,000 square feet of old mill wall surface – the most expansive view of LeWitt’s oeuvre in a single space.

Bio of Janet Passehl
The LeWitt Collection is a collection of contemporary art amassed by the artist Sol LeWitt, his wife Carol, and their daughters through trades, gifts and purchases since the 1960s. The collection comprises over 11,000 works of art, 4,500 of which are by artists other than LeWitt. More than 1,200 American, European, Asian and Australian artists are represented in the collection.

Janet Passehl has been Curator of the LeWitt Collection since 1991, working closely with Sol LeWitt during the latter part of his life and practice. Passehl continues her work with the collection, liaising with independent curators, galleries and museums, and overseeing storage, handling, lending, packing, and conservation of objects. She also acts as a guide for the many art professionals who come from around the world to carry out research in the LeWitt archive.

Passehl has helped facilitate hundreds of gallery and museum exhibitions and catalogs featuring LeWitt’s work, including three major traveling retrospectives: Sol LeWitt Drawings 1958-1992, organized by the Haags Gemeentemuseum; Sol LeWitt: Structures 1962-1993, organized by Museum of Modern Art, Oxford; Sol LeWitt: A Retrospective (all media), organized by San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in 2000. Major exhibitions of other artists’ work collected by LeWitt include LeWittx2: Selections from the LeWitt Collection, organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art, Madison, WI; Sol LeWitt as a Collector. An Artist and His Artists, organized by Pompidou Metz, Metz, France in 2013; and Drawing Dialogues: Selections from the Sol LeWitt Collection, organized by the Drawing Center in New York in 2016.

Sol LeWitt trusted Passehl to oversee quality control for the fabrication and restoration of his structures. Today she is recognized as an expert on his aesthetic and philosophical positions thereof. As such, she is frequently consulted by museums, collectors and conservators for advice on conserving LeWitt objects.

In 2012, Janet Passehl was invited to participate in The Conservation of Modern Outdoor Painted Sculpture, Experts Meeting at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, organized by the Getty Conservation Institute. In 2015, Passehl defended LeWitt’s philosophy during The First Crack: A Symposium on Conservation and Value in Contemporary Art, organized by Contemporary Conservation Ltd., and hosted by the School of Visual Arts, New York. Passehl was interviewed about conservation and refabrication of LeWitt’s work for a publication that was presented at the annual meeting of the International Fine Art and Specie Insurance Conference in Madrid in 2015.

In 2016, Janet Passehl lectured on Sol LeWitt at the Ian Potter Museum of Art in Melbourne, the National Gallery of Art in Canberra, and the Art Gallery of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia.