Related themes

Serial Forms and Repetition

Explore the importance of seriality and repetition in Minimalist art.

Language and Art

Explore the role words played in Conceptual art’s emphasis on ideas over visual forms.

Serial Project, I (ABCD)

Sol LeWitt
(American, 1928–2007)

1966. Baked enamel on steel units over baked enamel on aluminum, 20" x 13' 7" x 13' 7" (50.8 x 398.9 x 398.9 cm)

Conceptual art emphasizes ideas over a physical product, and Sol LeWitt starts Serial Project, I with the idea rather than the form, initiating a process that obeys certain rules, and determines the form by playing itself out. Serial Project, I shows the combinations of both open and closed enameled aluminum squares, cubes, and extensions of all these shapes laid in a grid.

LeWitt’s system of organization gives its viewers all the clues they need to solve the puzzle of its logic. “The aim of the artist would not be to instruct the viewer but to give him information,” wrote LeWitt in a text accompanying this work. The basic forms and industrial materials of Serial Project, I (ABCD) and the idea that gives form to the work of art make it a combination of both Conceptualist and Minimalist principles.

The form or condition in which an object exists or appears.

A primarily American artistic movement of the 1960s, characterized by simple geometric forms devoid of representational content. Relying on industrial technologies and rational processes, Minimalist artists challenged traditional notions of craftsmanship, using commercial materials such as fiberglass and aluminum, and often employing mathematical systems to determine the composition of their works.

An element or substance out of which something can be made or composed.

The shape or structure of an object.

A type of paint made from very fine pigments and resin that form a glossy surface. Also, the application of this paint to a material in order to create a smooth and glossy surface.

Art that emerged in the late 1960s, emphasizing ideas and theoretical practices rather than the creation of visual forms. In 1967, the artist Sol LeWitt gave the new genre its name in his essay “Paragraphs on Conceptual Art,” in which he wrote, “The idea itself, even if not made visual, is as much a work of art as any finished product.” Conceptual artists used their work to question the notion of what art is, and to critique the underlying ideological structures of artistic production, distribution, and display.

Say What?
Le Witt said: “The serial artist does not attempt to produce a beautiful or mysterious object but functions merely as a clerk cataloging the results of his premise.”

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Serial Project, I (ABCD)

Sol LeWitt (American, 1928–2007)