As of this past Tuesday, a collection of 120 photographs of New York’s Lower East Side taken by Sol LeWitt in 1979 has been installed on the side of the Mondrian SoHo. It is a permanent installation, so you can take a stroll there anytime. The hotel partnered with the Paula Cooper Gallery on the project.
From the press release:
Sol LeWitt made photographs throughout his career, beginning in the 1960s
with serial works of images inspired by Edwaerd Muybridge. Photography was
a means by which LeWitt incorporated narrative into his art, in a seeming
contradiction to the objective, conceptual rigor that define Lewitt’s wall
drawings and structures from the same period. Beginning in the mid-1970s,
he published a series of books of photographic essays such as Brick Walls
(1975), Photo Grids (1977), and On the Walls of the Lower East Side, which
culminated in Autobiography (1980). The publications reproduce images that
are absent of people, sequenced in related groupings and arranged into grids
of uniformly sized reproductions that function like modular units with no
On the Walls of the Lower East Side consists of 666 photographs in total,
depicting the decayed landscape of the neighborhood in lower Manhattan where
LeWitt then had his home and studio. (The door of his loft at 117 Hester
Street is included.) Graffiti covered walls were abundant in the area, and
LeWitt shoots mostly images of political scrawls, torn posters and
splattered paint in a straight-forward, almost deadpan, style that is in
essence social documentary.
Sol Lewitt believed that walls were public and large and that books were
small and private; that they each provide the same information through
extremely different formats. Sol Lewitt wrote, “When one sees a wall, it is
the impact of the whole that is understood at once-emotionally more than
intellectually. It is only by reading the wall that the viewer understands
it fully.” The installation of LeWitt¹s On the Walls of the Lower East Side
at Mondrian SoHo provides an opportunity for this work to be seen in the
context of the community that inspired it.
More images after the fold.
All images ©Estate of Sol LeWitt / ARS. Courtesy Paula Cooper Gallery, New York