Tower (Gubbio)

Sol Lewitt*

Tower (Gubbio), 1996

Concrete block

225 x 112 x 112 Inches

Courtesy of Pace Gallery, New York

© 2018 The LeWitt Estate / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Artist, writer, philosopher and philanthropist Sol LeWitt created an enduring legacy as one of the founders of American Minimalism, a movement characterized by the use of a restricted range of mostly industrial, post-war building materials, in non-expressive shapes and muted colors. LeWitt was also an early pioneer and proponent of Conceptual Art, an ideas-based practice that used the neutral systems of science and math to generate sculptures and wall drawings that could be made by others following his directions

As his career progressed, LeWitt began to loosen his control of the production of his works, allowing for others to help shape them, particularly in his ever-larger, ever-more vibrant wall murals that used color and shape to change the architecture of their rooms. LeWitt is remembered as one of America’s most inventive practitioners, supportive of younger artists while working to make his art accessible to the non-arts audience.

In Tower (Gubbio), commissioned for the XXIII Biennale in Gubbio, Italy, LeWitt has removed his own artistic hand by using concrete blocks, a coarse building material that is part of our modern urban environment but also used by the Romans to construct their cities. There is not a functional purpose to LeWitt’s tower as it inches towards the sky in mathematically proscribed increments.

Like many American cities, Milwaukee’s downtown was hollowed out in the 1960s and 1970s under the pressure of urban renewal and the western sprawl of our freeway system. LeWitt’s work adds an interesting commentary as a new generation of public leaders and citizens re-build and re-imagine what community should mean in the 21st century. LeWitt’s simple building blocks suggest that simplicity and transparency has a great value in a democracy, and his work expresses that ideal.

Over the past two decades alone, LeWitt was the subject of one person exhibitions at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia; the Museo d’Arte Contemporanea Donnaregina, Naples, Italy; Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, North Adams; the Philadelphia Museum of Art; the Centre Pompidou-Metz, France; the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo; Stockholm Konsthall, Sweden; Tate Liverpool, United Kingdom; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Storm King Art Center, Mountainville, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Madison Square Park, New York; Laumeier Sculpture Park, St. Louis, among many others. He has shown in galleries around the globe, and his work is in collections of the Albertina, Vienna; Art Institute of Chicago; The Museum of Modern Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo, The Netherlands; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh; San Francisco Museum of Art; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Tate, London; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, among other national and international institutions.

* Work carried over from Sculpture Milwaukee 2017

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