Alfred Jensen/Sol LeWitt: Systems and Transformation
32 East 57th Street, New York
January 13 – February 11, 2012
NEW YORK, December 13, 2011—The Pace Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition juxtaposing the work of Alfred
Jensen and Sol LeWitt, two artists whose bodies of work connect to the grid and are governed by systems. Alfred
Jensen/Sol LeWitt: Systems and Transformation will be on view at 32 East 57th Street from January 13 through
February 11, 2012, with a public reception on January 12 from 6 to 8 p.m.
Exhibited side-by-side, Jensen’s colorful and tactile abstract paintings and LeWitt’s minimalist white structures reveal the
vastly different outcomes that can arise from similar conceptual foundations. Jensen uses mathematical systems to
construct two-dimensional grid paintings and demonstrate color theories, but the work itself is metaphorical, referencing
pre-Colombian and Asian cultures, textiles, and divination. LeWitt’s three-dimensional grid sculptures, in contrast, are
self-referential, rooted in logic and reality, and governed by mathematical instructions that objectively organize space.
The exhibition will include eight paintings by Jensen and eight open geometric structures by LeWitt.
Jensen's intricately organized diagrams reflect his distinctive conceptual approach, begun in the late 1950s when he
started to refine his wide-ranging studies of systems and philosophies—from theories of color and light, mathematics,
and the Mayan calendar, to scientific formulations—into multicolored checkerboards. The paintings on view, made
between 1960 and 1975, include one of Jensen’s largest and most complex works, A la Fin de l’automne (1975). A
honeycomb of color, numbers, and symbols, the elements alternate between light and dark, with each square bearing an
abstract marker. Jensen had travelled to Brazil and Peru just one year earlier, and the work suggests the pattern of a
pre-Colombian tapestry rendered in thick impasto.
In contrast, LeWitt’s austere open structures, made from basic geometrical units arranged according to pre-determined
mathematical sequences, reflect their own poetics. A pillar of minimalist and conceptual art, Sol LeWitt helped
revolutionize the definition of art in the 1960s with his famous declaration that “the idea becomes a machine that makes
the art.” Reducing art to its essentials, the cube became the basic modular unit for his artistic inquiry—the “grammatical
device” from which his work would proceed. A universally recognizable form that could not be mistaken to represent
anything other than itself, the cube eliminated the necessity of inventing another form, allowing the form itself to be
used for invention. The exhibition will feature all manner of structures of forms derived from the cube, made out of
wood or aluminum and painted white, from between 1971 and 1997, including the ceiling-mounted work Hanging
Structure (1992), and a maquette for an outdoor structure similar to those recently featured in the Public Art Fund’s
landmark survey exhibition Sol LeWitt Structures: 1965–2006, installed in New York’s City Hall Park from May to
Concurrently, Pace has installed a monumental concrete
block structure by Sol LeWitt on the roof of its Chelsea
gallery at 510 West 25th Street, which is visible from the
High Line. The structure, Horizontal Progression (1991),
continues LeWitt’s interest in generating variety within selfimposed
constrictions, moving only horizontally, vertically, or
diagonally to the left or right.
This is the first exhibition to examine in depth the contrasts between Jensen and LeWitt, though the work of the two
artists has previously been included in group exhibitions at Pace that explore the connections between artists working
over mediums and decades, including Logical Conclusions: 40 Years of Rule-Based Art (2003) and On the Square (2010).
The two artists have been included together in other group exhibitions at museums worldwide, including To Infinity and
Beyond: Mathematics in Contemporary Art, The Heckscher Museum of Art, Huntington, New York (2008); Structures of
Difference, Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, Connecticut (2003); Generations of Geometry: Abstract
Painting in America since 1930, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (1987); Grids, Institute of Contemporary
Art, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia (1972); and Plus by Minus: Today's Half Century, Albright-Knox Art Gallery,
Buffalo, New York (1968).
For more information about Alfred Jensen/Sol LeWitt: Systems and Transformation, please contact the Public
Relations department of The Pace Gallery at 212.421.8987. For general inquiries, please email
firstname.lastname@example.org; for reproduction requests, email email@example.com.