Sol LeWitt’s Wall Drawings: Conservation of an ephemeral art practice

John Hogan and Carol Snow


Sol LeWitt’s Wall Drawings create an entirely new point of departure in the creative processes of idea, visualization, variants, realization, immutable repeatability, and intellectual implications for artists. LeWitt’s Wall Drawings are not physically artist generated and are non-artifact oriented. When the artist’s intellectual intent and production are intended to be of a temporary but repeatable nature, how are the standards explained and maintained long term? What are the implications related to conservation, connoisseurship, and technical art history when dealing with practitioners of ephemerally based arts—reinstallation versus repair, disappearance of original materials, repeatability, human participation in realization, concepts of non-cultural rarity, maintaining artistic integrity, cultural historical context, avoiding making an “Identical Copy” but respecting the parameters of the “Idea”? Training future “draftspersons” in the materiality, scale, process, and nature of a democratic hand is a critical component. Th is article addresses the role of the archivist of historical and current installations working with conservators at Yale utilizing their expertise to inform realizations of the Wall Drawings far into the future.

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2015 | Miami | Volume 22