Monday, May 19, 2008

Conceptualism is Cool

I've been going to a lot of art exhibitions recently. In London, all of the museums are free. Jenny's homestay mother, when asked why the museums were free, said, "The museums hold the people's national treasures. Why should we be charged to see our own national treasures?"

My new favorite artist is Sol LeWitt.

Ever since I saw a series of his work at the MUMOK in Vienna, he has been popping up everywhere. At the Tate Modern, he painted a room entirely black and then covered it with vertical lines of chalk from floor to ceiling, cutting some lines with horizontal or diagonal ones to make shapes, which looked like windows that the viewer could look through to see other worlds of lines. On display at the Victoria and Albert was a book he illustrated of Borges' short stories. While out one night, I met a Londoner with a thick book of interviews with artists in his backpack. Sol LeWitt was featured on the back cover.

I love LeWitt's glorification of simple lines and shapes. It is organized, clean, planned, and executed with precision and detail. I can't say the same thing about my life at the moment, but I liked it that way. I can get my routine fix by looking at LeWitt's perfect hexagons.

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