Sol LeWitt

Sol LeWitt

American, 1928–2007

Circle with Towers

2005/2012
Concrete block 168 × 308 inches diameter
Purchase, Landmarks, The University of Texas at Austin, 2011
Photography not permitted
Location: Speedway entrance to The Bill & Melinda Gates Computer Science Complex & Dell Computer Science Hall (GDC) GPS: lon: 97.737111 lat: 30.286235

More Information

Project History

Two works by Sol LeWitt grace both the exterior and interior of the Gates Dell Complex. Considered a pioneer of minimal and conceptual art, LeWitt is notable for a reliance on basic colors and shapes in his work. Through his writings and work, he famously proposed that an art object is important as a carrier of ideas rather than as a formal entity, and he often outlined instructions that allowed his works to be produced by others.

In 2011 Landmarks acquired Circle with Towers, one of LeWitt’s last concrete block works. Located just east of Speedway outside the main entrance to the complex, the work can be enjoyed not only as an abstract art form, but also as a social gathering place. Over a period of a few months in 2012, Landmarks worked with an expert from the LeWitt estate and a team of local masons to construct the piece, which had been exhibited in 2005 by the Madison Square Park Conservancy.

In 2012 Landmarks secured a twenty-five-year renewable loan from the LeWitt estate for Wall Drawing #520, a jewel-toned ink-wash drawing that initially had been installed in 1987 at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. The drawing’s floating cubes reflect the artist’s continued interest in using basic geometric elements in his work, and they are clearly linked to the cube forms of the concrete block structure just outside. With LeWitt’s diagram and set of instructions, as well as the oversight of a master draftsman from the LeWitt estate and a crew of six local artists, Landmarks installed the wall drawing over a three-week period in 2013. The drawing is situated on three walls leading to the auditorium in the north wing of the complex.

Veronica Roberts, former director of research for the Sol LeWitt Wall Drawing Catalogue Raisonné and curator of modern and contemporary art at the Blanton Museum of Art, contributed the artist essay, which provides greater detail about LeWitt and his works in the Landmarks collection.

These efforts were funded through the capital improvement project of the Department of Computer Science. Landmarks would like to thank them for their generous support. For their dedication to this project, Landmarks would also like to thank Bruce Porter, Patti Spencer, Sofia LeWitt and the LeWitt Estate, Debbie Landau and Madison Square Park Conservancy, Veronica Roberts, Anthony Sansotta, Jeremy Ziemann, Gabriel Hurier, Patrick Sheehy, Fran Gale, Sarah Hunter, and Mark Brooks, as well as the building’s architects Pelli Clarke Pelli, especially Bill Butler and Rustam Mehta.

Press Highlights

Sol LeWitt Artwork Unveiled at UT’s New Computer Science Building
Alcalde
By Kelsey McKinney, 22 March 2013

Circle with Towers, the 14-foot high circular structure designed by conceptual and minimalist artist Sol LeWitt, was just unveiled this week, and it already has a nickname: “Gates-henge.” The structure was acquired by Landmarks, UT’s public art program, along with a colorful LeWitt wall drawing inside the building. Read more.

UT makes big leap in public art
Austin360
By Jeanne Claire van Ryzin

Outside a new building at the University of Texas stands a striking circular structure made of ordinary unpainted cement cubes. Read more.

LEWITT SCULPTURES SOLD
The New York Times
By Carol Vogel

In 2005, shortly after two commissioned sculptures by Sol LeWitt — Circle With Towers and Curved Wall With Towers — were installed in Madison Square Park, he donated both works to the Madison Square Park Conservancy, which oversees that green space between Madison and Fifth Avenues, from 23rd to 26th Street. Read more.

Press Release - 4 March 2011

Sol LeWitt’s Circle with Towers Acquired by The University of Texas at Austin

AUSTIN, Texas—The concrete block structure Circle with Towers by Sol LeWitt (1928-2007) has been purchased by Landmarks, the public art program of The University of Texas at Austin, from the Madison Square Park Conservancy in New York.

Circle with Towers will grace the entrance to the new Dell Computer Science Hall and the Bill and Melinda Gates Computer Science Complex currently under construction on the east side of Speedway between 21st and 24th Streets. The unveiling of the work will coincide with the opening of the computer science complex in September 2012. This work will join Landmarks’ permanent collection of public art on the main campus.

“LeWitt’s structure will serve not only as an object in its own right but also as a new place that will allow students to interact with the Computer Science environment in a way that is informal and was nonexistent before,” says Andrew Houston, member of the Faculty Building Advisory Committee and architecture and urban studies undergraduate. “It will be a focal point of intellectual debate and exploration—both of its embodied ideas and its physical presence.”

The structure is made of concrete blocks that form a twenty-five-foot-diameter ring, which is intersected by fourteen-foot-high towers at equal intervals. It represents the modular structures and simple, geometric forms for which LeWitt is acclaimed. He pioneered the development of Minimalism and Conceptual art in the 1960s and 1970s. His ideas value concept over expression, and the execution of his work invites artistic collaboration.

“There are few opportunities to acquire works of this caliber,” says Andrée Bober, Landmarks director. “This powerful example of LeWitt’s renowned serial structures complements the university’s purpose and its public art collection perfectly. He redefined traditional concepts about the ways in which art is produced, and I expect his ingenuity will inspire many generations of students to think in new ways.”

Circle with Towers is one of Sol LeWitt’s last works,” says John R. Clarke, professor of art history and member of the Landmarks Advisory Committee. “It represents the culmination of his desire to communicate the rigor of his conceptual art in a ‘user friendly’ way. A viewer can enjoy the work at many levels: from its abstract form to its reality as a social gathering place. It draws viewers into its subtle but complex geometry by engaging their spatial responses.”

The artist donated Circle with Towers in 2005 to the Madison Square Park Conservancy for the sole purpose of establishing a permanent endowment to support the exhibition of artists’ work in Madison Square Park.

Debbie Landau, president of the Madison Square Park Conservancy, said, “We are proud that Circle with Towers will join the Landmarks collection. It is so gratifying to know that Sol LeWitt’s beautiful structure will be understood and enjoyed by the public.”

Sol LeWitt’s work has been exhibited at hundreds of solo exhibitions in museums and galleries worldwide. Retrospective exhibitions have been held at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, and the Tate Gallery, London.

Download the press release.

Contact

Landmarks

The University of Texas at Austin
College of Fine Arts
2305 Trinity St., PAC 3.204
Austin, TX 78712
landmarks@austin.utexas.edu
512.495.4315

Press Office

Nick Nobel, External Affairs Coordinator
The University of Texas at Austin
College of Fine Arts
2305 Trinity St., PAC 3.204
Austin, TX 78712
nobel@utexas.edu
512.232.5904