SAM Art: New Installation at Olympic Sculpture Park by Sol LeWitt

Experience the Olympic Sculpture Park’s PACCAR Pavilion as it transforms into a canvas for Sol LeWitt’s Seven cubes with color ink washes superimposed, now on view through March, 2015.

As a new intern for the Seattle Art Museum’s Communications department, I can’t wait for the next sunny day to escape my office and walk to see the Sol LeWitt installation at the Olympic Sculpture Park. Until I started my internship I wasn’t very familiar with Sol LeWitt, and only knew of his sculptures. LeWitt is more than just a sculptor. He was a proponent of artistic concepts driving the force behind visual work. He famously regarded the principles of conceptual art by writing, “the idea is the machine that makes the work of art.”

Aside from sculpture, Lewitt created wall drawings that existed only as a set of instruction for others to carry out. LeWitt’s drawings come to life without his own presence, as they are realized by others, and are contextualized by the spaces they are produced in. Lewitt provided a scale that nearly anyone can adjustment and create. The Olympic Sculpture Park’s Pavilion walls are slightly narrower than the original scale, creating a surprise perspective for viewers and an image specific to the Pavilion’s space.

LeWitt bridged minimal art of the 1960’s with what would become conceptual art. LeWitt was interested in cube and grid structures throughout his career. Here, the cubes emphasize flatness, causing the cubes to appear as if they are tilting forwards, yet simultaneously remaining rooted to the wall. This calls attention to the relationship between the viewer’s space, the drawing, and the architecture of the Pavilion.

In this installation video, it is fascinating to watch the process of layering colors on top of each other to create depth, producing bold colors and geometric lines that fill the Pavilion walls. I also enjoyed the video’s commentary from Catharina Manchanda, SAM’s Jon and Mary Shirley Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, as she explains details of the installation and gives insight into the mind of LeWitt.

Don’t miss this installation on view now through March 8, 2015 at the Olympic Sculpture Park’s PACCAR Pavilion.

– Maddie Thomas, Seattle Art Museum’s Communication Intern

Seven cubes with color ink washes superimposed, 1997, Sol LeWitt, American, 1928-2007, India ink washes, 130 x 670 in., Seattle Art Museum, Gift Of The Artist; Installation donated By Preston, Gates, & Ellis, in honor of William H. Gates, 98.4. © Sol LeWitt. Photo: Nathaniel Willson