In museums I've heard people say about contemporary art, "My grandchild could paint that." If the grandchild were an adult, had a steady hand and patience, she could join a worker-bee team and paint a Sol LeWitt. More than sixty people executed LeWitt's plans for paintings for the retrospective of his work at Mass MOCA in North Adams. The exhibit will be up for 25 years. There are three floors of wall drawings. LeWitt wrote: "To work with a plan that is pre-set is one way of avoiding subjectivity. It also obviates the necessity of designing each work in turn. The plan would design the work." He also wrote: "The idea becomes a machine that makes the art." LeWitt made art in order to "engage the mind."
I was interested in LeWitt's drive to eliminate chance by the calculated repetition of patterns. The assistants who painted the walls succeeded in making his work "the results of his premise." But I did not warm up to his work. LeWitt would have been pleased. He aimed to remove emotion from the artistic experience. Seeing his paintings, I experienced dry admiration for dry work.
In contrast, the paintings at the Clark museum in Williamstown delighted me. The oil swam across the canvas, whether or not the subject was water. The abstractions of Arthur Dove and Georgia O'Keefe--Dove was a major influence on O'Keefe-- glistened with feeling, shaded with surprising tints and curved in unexpected shapes. Dove's is "Sunrise"; O'Keefe's is "Canna."