MASS MoCA - Wall Drawing 958 was first created at PaceWildenstein gallery for an exhibition that ran concurrently with Sol LeWitt’s retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art. The brilliant colors and animated form of this wall drawing illustrate the playful mood that began to pervade LeWitt’s work in the late 1990s. Both the title and shape of Splat, for example, recall the language and energy of comic strips. Unlike many of his earlier drawings, which could be drawn according to a system of instructions, the eccentric shape of Splat is drawn from a projection of a sketch.
The dynamism of the form is matched by the vibrancy of the drawing’s highly saturated colors; in 1997 LeWitt’s palette expanded to include secondary colors (purple, orange, green) when he switched from using washes of India ink to employing acrylic. The use of paint fundamentally altered the style and technique of the wall drawings which became increasingly vivid. Despite his introduction of paint as a medium, the artist consciously retained the term “wall drawing” for these works.
BACKSTORYTo achieve such brilliant colors, the draftsmen who worked on Wall Drawing 958 had to apply between ten and twelve coats of paint for each color. For the first five or six coats they worked to build up each color. For each of the last five or six coats the draftsmen watered down the paint slightly more for finishing. To eliminate brush marks, the draftsmen apply the paint with the tip of a paintbrush in a cross-hatching motion. After each coat is finished, brush hairs and globs of paint are removed with a razor blade.
- MASS MoCA