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A 12-foot by 68-foot sculpture titled Seven Walls and designed by the renowned conceptual artist Sol LeWitt is being installed on the lawn in front of the Colby College Museum of Art in Waterville. LeWitt designed the piece of art expressly for the museum and presented the plans as a gift in 2001. H.P. Cummings, a construction company from Winthrop, built the sculpture, and Seven Walls will be dedicated on Wednesday, July 17, at 11:30 a.m.
Although he is well known for his expansive wall drawings and prints, LeWitt is primarily considered a sculptor. His concrete block sculptures, which he refers to as structures, are in collections worldwide, including the City of Frankfurt, Jerusalem’s Israel Museum and England’s Yorkshire Sculpture Park. His sculptures also are in the collections of New York’s Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, as well as the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.
LeWitt’s work bridges minimal art with conceptual art, a movement rooted in making the idea the artwork, not the finished piece. One of LeWitt’s signature ideas is to have others actually create the work, adhering to the concept according to his detailed instructions. “In conceptual art the idea or concept is the most important aspect of the work,” said LeWitt. “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 the machine that makes the art.”
LeWitt was born in 1928 in Hartford, Conn., and earned a bachelor of fine arts degree from Syracuse University in 1949. He moved to New York in 1953 and as a young man worked as a graphic designer for architect I.M. Pei. In the 1960s LeWitt began creating works that used simple and impersonal forms and exploring repetition and variations of a basic form or line as a way to achieve complex works. He also evolved a method for creating artwork based on simple directions.
This is the second major piece by LeWitt in Colby’s permanent collection. The wall drawing Wavy color bands within a gray, red, yellow and blue border was created for the museum’s lobby in 1996. With the addition of Seven Walls Colby now has two outdoor sculptures by major American artists permanently on view. The concrete block work Seven Walls joins the solid, forged steel commissioned sculpture 4-5-6 by Richard Serra that was installed in the museum’s courtyard in 2000.