2/18/22 - 6/12/22

David S. Areford, Professor of Art History, University of Massachusetts Boston

The conceptual artist Sol LeWitt (1928–2007) is best known for his programmatic wall drawings and modular structures, but alongside these works he generated thousands of lithographs, silkscreens, etchings, aquatints, woodcuts, and linocuts. Strict Beauty: Sol LeWitt Prints is the most comprehensive presentation of the artist’s printmaking to date, including single sheets and print series, for a total of over 200 individual prints.

The exhibition begins with the artist’s earliest prints: figure studies and scenes of urban life made at Syracuse University and in Hartford, Connecticut. LeWitt’s mature printmaking is explored in four thematic sections that reflect the diverse abstract languages he pursued throughout his career: “Lines, Arcs, Circles, and Grids,” “Bands and Colors,” “From Geometric Figures to Complex Forms,” and “Wavy, Curvy, Loopy Doopy, and in All Directions.”

Curated by David S. Areford, professor of art history at the University of Massachusetts Boston, the exhibition is accompanied by an in-depth catalog co-published by the New Britain Museum of American Art, Williams College Museum of Art, and Yale University Press. The exhibition and catalog highlight the essential role of printmaking in LeWitt’s oeuvre, deepening the understanding not only of the variety of LeWitt’s output but of the genealogy of his distinct geometric and linear formal language.

Artist Bio
Born in Hartford, Connecticut, and raised in nearby New Britain, Sol LeWitt (1928-2007) was a pioneer of conceptual art and is considered one of the most influential artists of the second half of the twentieth century. His broad artistic practice included wall drawings, structures, photography, printmaking, artist’s books, drawings, gouaches, and folded and ripped paper works.

Browse the installation:

Watch a musical preview of Strict Beauty:

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Exhibition catalog:

Strict Beauty: Sol LeWitt Prints
David S. Areford
Co-published by Yale University Press, New Britain Museum of American Art, and Williams College Museum of Art (2020)
Finalist, College Art Association’s Alfred H. Barr Jr. Award for Smaller Museums

A landmark survey of Sol LeWitt’s printmaking practice

This generously illustrated volume is the first to take a comprehensive look at LeWitt’s significant yet underexplored printmaking practice. Drawing together new archival research, interviews, and careful material and visual analyses, David S. Areford brilliantly situates LeWitt’s prints within the broader context of his serial-, system-, and rule-based approach to artmaking. The specific processes of print media, Areford argues, were perfectly suited for LeWitt’s particular brand of conceptual art, in which the “idea becomes the machine that makes the art.”

With over 400 illustrations, many never before published, this study offers a more complete picture of LeWitt’s oeuvre—and the essential place printmaking holds in it. The result will deepen the understanding not only of the variety of LeWitt’s output but of the genealogy of his distinct geometric and linear formal language.

The catalog is available for sale in WCMA’s gift shop.

News & Press

Brian Goslow, Capsule Previews for Artscope 97, Artscope, March 3, 2022

Yuchan Kim, Strict Beauty: Sol LeWitt Prints presents a new facet of LeWitt, Williams Record, March 9, 2022

Kate Abbott, ‘Strict Beauty’ reveals Sol LeWitt through his prints, By the Way Berkshires, March 9, 2022

Lisa Green, “STRICT BEAUTY: SOL LEWITT PRINTS” OPENS AT WILLIAMS COLLEGE MUSEUM OF ART, Rural Intelligence, March 14, 2022

Charles Giuliano, Visual Art Review: The Enigma of Sol LeWitt, the arts fuse, March 23, 2022

David Noel Edwards, Strict Beauty: Sol LeWitt Prints at Williams College Museum of Art through June 11, The Berkshire Edge, March 24, 2022

Sparrow, “Strict Beauty: Sol LeWitt Prints” on view at Williams College Museum of Art, Chronogram, March 24, 2022

Laura Hodes, Look Closely—Sol LeWitt’s art is a lot more Jewish than you think, Forward, April 26, 2022

Nigel Jaffe and Genevieve Randazzo, WCMA curator discusses Jewish themes in Sol LeWitt’s art, Williams Record, April 27, 2022