Conceptual Art and So Lewitt

Line Drawing by Sol LeWitt

In 1967, LeWitt wrote two seminal texts in which he outlined his thoughts on the artistic process. His “Paragraphs on Conceptual Art” and “Sentences on Conceptual Art” were widely read and influenced artists and art theorists of LeWitt’s generation. Perhaps most well known is a section from the “Paragraphs” where LeWitt asserts the importance of ideas in art making: “In conceptual art the idea or concept is the most important aspect of the work. When an artist uses a conceptual form of art, it means that all of the planning and decisions are made beforehand and the execution is a perfunctory affair. The idea becomes a machine that makes the art.” In addition to the logical notion of art as a machine, LeWitt also blended less rational concepts into his work. In the “Sentences on Conceptual Art” he wrote: “Irrational thoughts should be followed absolutely and logically.”2 To this end, he posits artistic endeavors as human, aesthetic, and delightfully inconsistent in their own artistic logic. These two strands of thinking—the logical and the fanciful— played out across the span of LeWitt’s career.

Key takeaways from Sol Lewitt:

  • Seperation Between Concept and Expression;
  • Reduce Individuality to allow for collaboration;
  • Allowing audience to get more from art by giving them access to the creation process.




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