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PRINT October 1984

STUBBORN IDEAS AND LeWITTY WALLS

IT IS WELL KNOWN THAT “ideas” generate Sol LeWitt’s art. He has said so himself, and few if any have found cause to say or write otherwise. But “idea” is often too vague a word. Ideas are entirely useless unless they prompt further thought. Impractical inventions—art, music, theoretical physics, etc.—are propelled not so much by ideas as by hope that ideas will suggest themselves. It is this hope or leap of faith—the rising of the soufflé—that Sophistication applauds, then blithely calls “dumb.” Fundamental ideas cluster in empty places and moments, sometimes within reach, never new, and laughably obvious. LeWitt, for instance, has said that ideas “belong to whomever understands them,” a statement so obvious it is dumb enough to be an idea.

More simply, LeWitt begins with a decision, a recipe for drafting or geometry that is followed through under given sets of circumstances to the extent

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