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When Sol LeWitt (1928-2007) embraced printmaking in 1970, after fifteen years devoted mainly to painting and sculpture, he homed in on the medium’s inherent technical and mechanical properties that best served his particular brand of conceptual art. As with his wall drawings and structures, the artist sought to relinquish some of his authorial control by allowing the motivating “idea”—articulated in a preplanned design or set of instructions—to dictate the final outcome (often in unpredictable ways). Printmaking, however, allowed possibilities not available in other media; and LeWitt was quick to exploit several print-specific strategies. Among the most productive was his use of reversal and rotation. Through these manifestations of process and movement, LeWitt created perceptually and intellectually rewarding experiences, ones that depend on foregrounding the subtle complexities of how prints are made.
This program is the keynote lecture for Strict Beauty: Sol LeWitt Prints and is delivered by exhibition curator David Areford.