The artist and his artists
From December 14th, 2012, to April 1st, 2013, the MADRE museum in Naples will host the exhibition “Sol LeWitt. The Artist and his Artists,” curated by Adachiara Zevi. The event, produced by the Donnaregina Foundation and funded by the Campania Region, is the result of a partnership with the Centre Pompidou Metz and the LeWitt Collection, Chester, Connecticut (USA).
After Naples, where it is presented for the first time in Europe, the Sol LeWitt collection will travel to Metz where it will be shown from April 19th to July 29th, 2013.
The exhibition is the first tribute by an Italian museum to this major international contemporary art figure since his death in New York in 2007, at the age of 78 (LeWitt was born in Hartford, Connecticut in 1928). As the title suggests, the exhibition project seeks to bring out LeWitt’s multiple and eclectic production.
The Neapolitan exhibition provides an original overview of anearly 50 years of Sol LeWitt production and it is divided in three sections: wall drawings designed by the artist and produced by his assistants, works never shown in public before, and finally works by other artists collected by LeWitt.
The first section, of works never exhibited before, consists of five wall drawings, selected by the LeWitt Collection especially for MADRE museum, that were designed by the artist in 2007 and never produced before. They are “Scribbles”, the last series LeWitt worked on. The design of the work is the prerogative of the artist- as stated in the memorandum of wall drawings written by LeWitt in 1970-, while its execution has been entrusted to the assistants who, meticulously following his instructions, made each drawing different from the others. For the Neapolitan exhibition, a specialist draughtsman from the LeWitt Collection, assisted by young local artists, has been at work for a long time on the museum’s walls.
The second section of the exhibition consists of 47 works by Sol LeWitt borrowed from Neapolitan collections: drawings, gouaches and sculptures covering a period from '68 down to the present. In 1975, with the exhibition at Lucio Amelio’s Modern Art Agency, the artist developed his close relationship with the City of Naples and Italy, strengthened in the ‘80s when he settled in Spoleto with his family for some years. In addition to private collections, LeWitt’s works can be seen in Naples at the Capodimonte museum, the Madre museum, the Materdei subway station, the Città della Scienza and at the Morra Greco Foundation.
The third section, the result of the partnership with the Centre Pompidou Metz, presents 95 works, a significant part of Sol LeWitt’s private collection.
Collecting works by other artists was never just a hobby for Sol LeWitt or an occasional indulgence but a full-time job, just like drawing, designing his wall drawings, or creating three-dimensional structures.
Contrary to what might be expected from an artist proverbial for his minimalist, abstract rigor and a theorist of conceptual art, his collection is omnivorous, ranging across artists from all countries and all trends, from fellow minimalists and conceptualists, European and American, to Pop art, Neo-Expressionism, and the Transavanguardia. It contains a large core of works by Italian artists such as Boetti, Merz, Kounellis, Paolini, Salvo, Chia, Tirelli and others: colleagues and friends he met during his long and frequent visits to Italy.
The exhibition is accompanied by Adachiara Zevi’s volume Italy in the Wall Drawings of Sol LeWitt published by Electa. It’s a catalog of all the wall drawings made by the artist in Italy from 1969 to today, seen through the filter of the influence on his work of Italian art and artists which LeWitt was very well aware of. The book contains also the last interview, unpublished, granted by Sol LeWitt to Adachiara Zevi in 2006.