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Hito Steyerl: How To Build a Sustainable Art World Ocula Conversation Hito Steyerl: How To Build a Sustainable Art World

'A Picture of War is Not War', we read in Hito Steyerl's iconic film November (2004), an essayistic Super 8 film tackling the definition of terrorism constructed around the figure of the artist's best friend Andrea Wolf, who was killed as a terrorist in 1998 in Eastern Anatolia after she joined the PKK (Kurdistan Workers' Party). Mixing documentary...

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Aichi to Okayama: Art in Japan Looks to the Future Ocula Report Aichi to Okayama: Art in Japan Looks to the Future 11 Oct 2019 : Stephanie Bailey for Ocula

There has been a flurry of triennial and biennial art activity in Japan this year. The Aichi Triennale opened in Nagoya this August, sparking a national debate about the shutting down of a display of formerly censored works—the result of public backlash against a burnt image of Emperor Hirohito and a statue commemorating the women forced into...

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Hans Hartung and Art Informel: Exhibition Walkthrough Ocula Insight | Video
Sponsored Content | Mazzoleni Gallery
Hans Hartung and Art Informel: Exhibition Walkthrough 15 October 2019

Hans Hartung and Art Informel at Mazzoleni London (1 October 2019-18 January 2020) presents key works by the French-German painter while highlighting his connection with artists active in Paris during the 50s and 60s. In this video, writer and historian Alan Montgomery discusses Hartung's practice and its legacy.Born in Leipzig in 1904, Hans...

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Sol LeWitt

(1928 - 2007), USA

One of the fathers of Conceptual and Minimalist art, Sol LeWitt was born in 1928 to Eastern European immigrant parents. He studied at Syracuse University before being drafted to the Korean War, where he created posters for the Special Services. After the war, in 1953 he moved to New York to pursue an interest in illustration. LeWitt was part of a group of artists who emerged while working at The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Others of this group include Dan Flavin and Robert Ryman. There, or thereabouts, Minimalism and Conceptualism was born. LeWitt was influenced by Russian Constructivism and the photographer Eadweard Muybridge, as well as the art of Frank Stella and Jasper Johns.

LeWitt initially made sculptures from cubes and cement blocks, but he later began to focus on drawing and painting. Throughout his career, LeWitt's artworks continued to investigate the distillation process—be it of form to simple shapes and colours, or of artworks to plans or instructions to create the work. In 'Paragraphs on Conceptual Art' (1967), he stated 'The idea becomes a machine that makes the art.' Art was reaching a political turning-point in the 1960s, where idea started being favoured over finished product. LeWitt enjoyed the temporality behind Conceptual art—the notion that his wall drawings (the first of which he created in 1968 at Paula Cooper Gallery, New York) would be painted over after an exhibition. The objects were perishable but the idea could live on. He later turned from wall drawings to wall paintings, using bright washes of ink and acrylic.

LeWitt is known for his interest in plan over product. He would write instructions detailing paintings or drawings of large geometric shapes that teams would then interpret and execute. The final artwork emphasises the difference between the language that opens the mind up to a physical manifestation, and the physical manifestation itself. In this vein of work, the trace of the artist is found in the plans that others could then interpret and complete. Sometimes these blueprints would be intentionally vague, to allow for a range of outcomes depending on interpretation. Others were more logical and direct.

LeWitt often rejected awards and was shy of limelight. In 1980 he created Autobiography—a set of photographs of every corner and aspect of his loft in Manhattan in detail. This act of simultaneous statement of self and removal of self exemplifies LeWitt's practice of avoiding a direct fingerprint of the artist, letting it show through in the idea instead of the image or brushstroke. Though LeWitt was shy, he was also generous. The nature of collaboration in his work also flowed through his willingness to help younger artists along their way.

Not long after his retrospective at The Museum of Modern Art, New York, in 1978 LeWitt found himself growing tired of the New York art scene. He moved to Spoleto, Italy, and there found himself re-energised by the work of traditional artists such as Giotto. Keeping to the same structures of instruction with which he had become a household name, he began experimenting with colour reminiscent of the frescoes that so enthralled him after his move. LeWitt died in 2007 in New York at 78.

Biography by Casey Carsel | Ocula | 2017
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Featured Artworks

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R 99 by Sol LeWitt contemporary artwork
Sol LeWittR 99, 1973 Torn paper
34 x 34 cm
Dep Art Gallery
Not Straight Brushstrokes (Black) by Sol LeWitt contemporary artwork
Sol LeWittNot Straight Brushstrokes (Black), 1996 Gouache on paper
153.7 x 153.7 cm
Galerie Greta Meert
PYRAMID by Sol LeWitt contemporary artwork
Sol LeWittPYRAMID, 1986 Gouache on paper
55.9 x 76.2 cm
THE CLUB
Cube Without A Cube by Sol LeWitt contemporary artwork
Sol LeWittCube Without A Cube, 2005 Shaped from solid slabs of syntactic polyurethane and painted in lacquer
7 x 12 x 12 inches
Krakow Witkin Gallery
Lines in Four Directions by Sol LeWitt contemporary artwork
Sol LeWittLines in Four Directions, 1993 Water-based woodblock
11 3/8 x 11 3/8 inches
Krakow Witkin Gallery
Incomplete Open Cube 10/4 by Sol LeWitt contemporary artwork
Sol LeWittIncomplete Open Cube 10/4, 1974 Painted aluminium
105.4 x 105.4 x 105.4 cm
Pace Gallery
Location of lines n°1-5 by Sol LeWitt contemporary artwork
Sol LeWittLocation of lines n°1-5, 1975 Etching
45.5 x 45.5 cm
Galerie Lelong & Co. Paris

Current & Recent Exhibitions

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Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, Interaction of Colour at Cristea Roberts Gallery, London
Open Now
7 September–26 October 2019 Group Exhibition Interaction of Colour Cristea Roberts Gallery, London
Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, The Sylvio Perlstein Collection A Luta Continua at Hauser & Wirth, Hong Kong
Closed
23 May–27 July 2019 Group Exhibition The Sylvio Perlstein Collection A Luta Continua Hauser & Wirth, Hong Kong
Contemporary art exhibition, Sol LeWitt, One Wall, One Work: Sol LeWitt, 'Wall Drawing #815' at Krakow Witkin Gallery, Boston
Closed
30 March–15 June 2019 Sol LeWitt One Wall, One Work: Sol LeWitt, 'Wall Drawing #815' Krakow Witkin Gallery, Boston

Represented By

In Ocula Magazine

Artful Manifestations Ocula Report Artful Manifestations 24 Jun 2016 : Diana d'Arenberg for Ocula

For the first time since 1996, this year’s edition of Manifesta was curated by an artist, German-born Christian Jankowski. Titled What People Do For Money – Some Joint Ventures, the labour-themed biennial was all about collaboration with unnamed specialists. Frankly, it’s not that different from the usual working process of...

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Five must-see exhibitions in London this spring Ocula Report Five must-see exhibitions in London this spring 7 Mar 2016 : Dr Kostas Prapoglou for Ocula

This spring five exhibitions in London take us on a journey to a domain of spatial and time-related inspirations. Human presence, intervention or absence appear as a unifying subject.Ronchini GalleryJan Fabre: Knight of the NightUntil 12 March 2016At Ronchini Gallery in Mayfair, Belgian artist Jan Fabre has created one of his...

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In Related Press

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MASS MoCA: It’s a Site for All Eyes Related Press MASS MoCA: It’s a Site for All Eyes The New York Times : 15 June 2017

MASS MoCA, the vast, multibuilding museum of contemporary art here, is a weird and wonderful place. For one, the dominance of brick walls, wood floors, big windows and frequent columns of its repurposed 19th-century factory buildings is the apotheosis of SoHo, whose small-industry loft spaces were taken over by commercial art galleries in the...

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10 Places to See Public Art in 2017 Related Press 10 Places to See Public Art in 2017 The New York Times : 26 January 2017

Redwood City, CaliforniaA benevolent pirate ship is about to settle in Redwood City, thanks to the curator Lance Fung. Instead of looters, the artists Ilya and Emilia Kabakov’s large-scale boat installation (with the word 'IMAGINE' nearby) will bring a new emphasis on public art to the area. Fung — who is best known for curating a show of...

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Julian Rosefeldt's 'Manifesto' of manifestos at the Armory with Cate Blanchett Related Press Julian Rosefeldt's 'Manifesto' of manifestos at the Armory with Cate Blanchett Whitewall : 26 December 2016

More than 50 significant manifestos from arguably some of the most brilliant artists and theorists of our time are featured in absurd or prosaic everyday scenes of contemporary life: a worker in a garbage incineration plant, a choreographer rehearsing with his dancers, a TV news anchor reporting the news, a punk at an after party. The discordance...

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Your FIAC Paris must-do list Related Press Your FIAC Paris must-do list Whitewall : 19 October 2016

It’s FIAC Week! Whitewaller Paris brings you 12 things you should be sure not to miss this week.1. FIACOctober 20-23—8th arrondissementThe 43rd edition of FIAC at the Grand Palais, the fair’s customary venue, is hosting this year 186 galleries from 27 countries and includes 43 newcomers, alongside well known spaces like...

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In Video & Audio

A Luta Continua. The Sylvio Perlstein Collection Related Video & Audio A Luta Continua. The Sylvio Perlstein Collection Hauser & Wirth : 8 May 2018

Unfolding across all three floors of Hauser & Wirth New York, 22nd Street, A Luta Continua is the first United States presentation of the Sylvio Perlstein Collection. Curated by David Rosenberg, the exhibition presents more than 360 works by some 250 artists. Among these are Josef Albers, Carl Andre, Diane Arbus, Hans Bellmer, André Breton,...

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