Subject: Instruction-based Art
Activity: Follow instructions to create an artwork similar to Sol LeWitt’s Wall Drawing #520
Materials: Paper; pencil; and red, yellow, and blue crayons or colored pencils
Vocabulary: Composition, geometric, horizontal, vertical
Sol LeWitt (1928–2007) wrote instructions for making works of art that other people can create. LeWitt once said, “The idea becomes the machine that makes the art.” He included shapes, lines, and color in his instructions, the same way in which composers use musical notes to express their ideas.
LeWitt’s compositions continue to be created by teams of people who follow the instructions he wrote when he was alive. Wall Drawing #520 took a team of six people twenty days to execute.
What geometric elements do you see in Wall Drawing #520 and Circle with Towers?
What colors do you see?
How do you think he made each color in Wall Drawing #520?
How is Sol LeWitt similar to a musical composer?
How is he different than a musical composer?
Using paper, a pencil, and crayons or colored pencils, use the following instructions to create an image:
Make a shape by drawing two horizontal lines and two vertical lines, all the same length and connecting end to end. Repeat the first step two times to make three shapes. Color one shape red, one blue, and one yellow. Fill the background with green scribbles by overlapping blue and yellow scribbles.
Compare your artwork to your partner’s. How are they similar? How are they different?
Composition —An artistic arrangement of the parts of a work of art.
Geometric —Simple shapes, such as lines, circles, squares, and triangles.
Horizontal line —Points from side to side.
Vertical line —Points up and down.
Casey Reas, A Mathematical Theory of Communication, 2014