The Artist Support Group (4 out of 5 or 6 of us) Travelled west to North Adams to see the Sol Lewitt wall pieces retrospective at Mass MoCA. It was interesting, and frustrating, and illuminating, and partly quite funny.
The building itself is the fabulous late-19th/early 20th century industrial design, all bricks and giant trees for trusses and turnbuckles on iron bars the size of my thumb holding it all together (plus about 28 coats of paint coming off in verry scenic worn ways). The Lewitt exhibit was on three floors arranged chronologically. We started in the middle. The colors were muted, the shapes large and interesting, the pieces huge. One of the great things about MassMoCA is that it has these HUGE spaces for display that are still inside.
Up one floor, the colors got so intense I couldn’t look at some for too long, they made my eyes buzz. My favorite there was a long black wall matte black on top,shiny black on the bottom. When photographed the shiny black reflects and looks anything but black.
Down to the earlier work we got the giggles. One official piece was a huge existing wall, with doors and fire alarms and beams at intervals on which people had gone silly with a chalk line. There were some very detailed instructions on the wall about how to create the particular piece on the wall which made it feel very recursive. We had the most fun in one that did not photograph at all well, but made each of us think of something different; a set of lines and arcs across a square, in pairs. The entire piece was all the possible combinations without replacement (the mathematical formula for it is a factorial, with an exclamation point, which used to make happy every time I used it in math. I mean; 20! How is that not good?) we stood there for a long time pointing out particular runs of combinations we liked, and arguing over whether a lapse in the pattern was play or rigorous adherence to the pattern. (rigorous adherence)
Then we flew through the rest of the place because we had left later than we meant to and someone (sorry) was starving and couldn’t go on without food.