Without access to museums or galleries, I notice I have been looking at far more art via auction sites than is typical. I am OK with this.
Especially when it surfaces objects like this, a piece of square paper creased into sixteen smaller squares, by Sol LeWitt. It is signed and dated March 1971 on the front, 1972 on the Max Protetch label on the back, where it is called “Fold Piece” instead of “Folded Paper Piece,” an insignificant difference magnified in our Google-based world.
These folded works, which LeWitt considered drawings, were often sent to friends, dealers, and colleagues. When they were sold, the artist wanted them sold inexpensively, part of a series which he called “$100 Drawings.” [Last fall, Megan N. Liberty reviewed two new books on these overlapping projects in The Brooklyn Rail, and James Barron showed a selection of these works in Kent, Connecticut. (In his book, Dieter Schwarz has compiled an extensive but clearly not comprehensive list of folded or ripped works that includes similar Protetch-related pieces, but not this one.) Jason Rulnick, a former LeWitt assistant who contributed to one of the new books, organized a show of these action-based works on paper at James Cohan in 2013 titled, “Cut Torn Folded Ripped”.]
The work also brings to mind a similar piece, also questionably dated to 1972, which Carl Andre showed at Protetch’s Washington, DC gallery: a diagram of a small grid of 16 squares of flattened sheet metal “against Nixon.” Andre also exhibited at Protetch a carpet of 500 pounds of cottage cheese, 12 x 18 feet and 10 inches deep, covered with 10 gallons of ketchup, also against Nixon, perhaps a protest of his second inauguration. The dates are kind of off. It was a wild art time in DC.
This LeWitt was purchased for $100 in 1975, long after the cottage cheese had been cleared out, by one Sandra Lee Vosburgh, of whom I can find little information beyond her obituary last year. She was 68, so she would have been 23 when she bought this LeWitt. Very adventurous. She might have been even younger when she acquired this large 1974 graphite drawing of a male nude figure, barely cropped, by DC’s own Manon Cleary. Ms Vosburgh’s tastes seem to have shifted by 1983, when she acquired Tom Murray’s 1983 photorealistic painting of a southwestern river canyon framed in old barnwood, or maybe she was just dedicated to supporting local artists in her travels. In any case, this fleeting moment of art history was brought to us by the Hindman Auctions corporation, who will dispatch these artworks to new homes on
April 9th May 4th? [greg.org regrets the inexplicable error, but is glad you still have time to bid.]
4 May 2021, Lot 16, Sol LeWitt, Fold Piece, Sixteen Squares, 1972, est. $8,000-12,000 [UPDATE: sold for $25,000, nice work, everybody] [hindmanauctions.com]
Buy Sol LeWitt Folds & Rips, with an essay by Dieter Schwarz, for around $55 or Sol LeWitt: Not To Be Sold For More Than $100, with text by Veronica Roberts, for around $60 [bookshop.org]
Sol LeWitt: $100 Drawings and Works from 1971-79, Oct-Nov 2020 [jamesbarronart.com]
Previously: American Decay
Related: I was really taken by this collection of postcards LeWitt sent to New York friends in the early 70s, which sold in November, but I was kind of too much of a wreck to think coherently about them at the time, much less write about them.