Artist
Sol LeWitt
American artist

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Sol LeWitt
American artist
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Birth Date

September 09, 1928

Death Date

April 08, 2007

ebrowne's picture

Contributor

Honestly, Sol LeWitt is just a really nice, talented artist.

He never did anything outrageous while naked, he never pulled any ego-inflating stunts for fame and even when he was in the U.S. Army he was stationed in non-combat positions. Yawn, right? But not actually because what he was famous for (besides his kickass art) was his modesty and generosity.  In comparison to the rest of the art world, that's actually pretty spectacular. 

Sol LeWitt would do things like help pay the rent or child’s tuition of artists who hit a rough patch. He was constantly trading pieces with other artists and exhibiting with younger artists to boost their careers. Basically he was a saint and nothing could stand in the way of his morality. Even when the Guggenheim Museum (the Guggenheim!) asked him to be in a show on the history of abstraction in the 20th century, he refused because he didn’t want to have anything to do with the tobacco company, Philip Morris, who was sponsoring the event. He also refused a commission because the company that wanted his work made weapons. The company obviously asked him to reconsider and he said he would if they reconsidered their business. Love it! And it wasn’t like commissions or exhibitions were easy to come by at the time. He just genuinely was a good, conscious person. He was a unicorn. 

In a famous letter to his friend and fellow artists, Eva Hesse, he said, “Try and tickle something inside you, your “weird humor”…. Don’t worry about cool, make your own uncool… And stop worrying about big, deep things such as ‘to decide on a purpose and way of life, a consistent approach to even some impossible end or even an imagined end’ You must practice being stupid, dumb, unthinking, empty. Then you will be able to DO!” So not only was Sol LeWitt a really good guy and an excellent artist who changed the art world, but he was also a life coach to young toiling artists who want to quit. His kindness was on the verge of overkill.

But even without his golden morality, LeWitt was a world-altering artist. One of his dear friends, Chuck Close said, “Sol is to art what Bach was to music.” His goal was “to recreate art, to start from square one,” which is funny because he literally painted cubes and squares directly on the walls of a gallery. His intention was to have them painted over but people had trouble doing it (duh, because they would probably soon be priceless!). So on one occasion, he had to paint over it himself. He believed that “Ideas… belong[ed] to whomever understands them.”

Overall Sol LeWitt was pretty much perfect. He was extremely talented, kind, generous and modest. He loved his family and hated fame and 100% should have been elected president. (Make America Sol-ful again.) 

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Here is what Wikipedia says about Sol LeWitt

Solomon "Sol" LeWitt (September 9, 1928 – April 8, 2007) was an American artist linked to various movements, including Conceptual art and Minimalism.

LeWitt came to fame in the late 1960s with his wall drawings and "structures" (a term he preferred instead of "sculptures") but was prolific in a wide range of media including drawing, printmaking, photography, painting, installation, and artist's books. He has been the subject of hundreds of solo exhibitions in museums and galleries around the world since 1965. The first biography of the artist, Sol LeWitt: A Life of Ideas, by Lary Bloom, was published by Wesleyan University Press in the spring of 2019.

Check out the full Wikipedia article about Sol LeWitt.