"I'm always looking for ways to engage the community in our art installations," says Luchsinger Gallery Director Kristen Erickson of bringing Sol LeWitt's Wall Drawing #797 to GA.
LeWitt, who passed way in 2007, was a vanguard of the conceptual art movement of the late 20th century. He often worked with instructions that included patterning, coding, and chance, allowing new iterations of a wall drawing to result from the same set of instructions each time it is installed. In exhibiting LeWitt's work, GA is in good company. His works have been shown in the world's most influential galleries and museums including a recent exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
"Conceptual art," Ms. Erickson explained, "is more about the planning and decisions made before the artwork is created. Execution is perfunctory." As such, Wall Drawing #797, came to GA as a set of instructions for how to create the drawing. After prepping a wall in the Dining Hall as precisely detailed by LeWitt, the process began. John Hogan, a friend and colleague of LeWitt's who is also a representative of the LeWitt Estate came to GA and drew a line at random at the very top of the wall in black marker. Subsequent lines were drawn in a repeating red, yellow, blue sequence by members of the GA community.
Over the course of two weeks, under the watchful eye of Ms. Erickson, the drawing took shape. The peaks and valleys of the black line at the top of the wall became amplified and softened with the drawing of each line that followed. New ripples emerged as participants tried to avoid touching the line above, as doing so would have required the entire line to be painted over. Lines at the top of the wall required a scaffolding for drawing that needed to be moved after every couple of feet of drawing, making the process time consuming. As the drawing progressed down the wall, a stool was used, until finally participants were able to simply stand or kneel on the floor. The work was considered complete when the bottom of the wall was reached.
From its location in the highly trafficked Dining Hall, to the 136 Middle and Upper School students and faculty who drew lines on the wall, to the Lower School girls who marveled at fact the that people were actually drawing on the wall, Wall Drawing #797 truly was a community project.
Wall Drawing #797 was lent to GA by the LeWitt Estate for the duration of the 2018-19 academic year. The wall will be repainted white in June 2019.