LeWitt installation draws synergy between science and art on campus

March 20, 2017

The 2016 renovation of the West Campus Imaging Core provided an opportunity to work with architects Svigals + Partners to create a space in the vision of the campus.

Thanks to the support of Yale University Art Gallery, and particularly to John Hogan, the Mary Jo and Ted Shen Installation Director and Archivist for Sol LeWitt Wall Drawings, the Core is now home to one of the defining connections on campus - the growing convergence of cultural heritage and basic science - with the installation of Sol LeWitt drawings #631 and #630. Throughout the summer, scholars and conservators from Yale Art Gallery and Yale School of Art worked with Hogan to bring LeWitt’s specific written guidelines to life.

Sol LeWitt (1928 - 2007) is recognized in the history of art for his leading role in the Conceptual movement. Rather than creating permanent works of art, he believed in the ideas of the artist in a similar way we think of the explorations of the scientist; hypothesizing, conceptualizing and discharging experiments that often end in unexpected “Eureka” moments.

LeWitt’s wall drawings consist solely of written instructions and diagrams for others to execute. Sometimes these were deliberately vague so that the results were not completely controlled by LeWitt himself. Drawings 631 and 630 at the West Campus Imaging Core are thus the unique rendition of the individuals who worked on the installation, each making their own contribution to the legacy of the artist through their interpretation of his instructions.

“In the sciences, we’re often driven by data and results, and the drawings remind us of the inherent value in creativity,” said Chris Incarvito, Director of Research Operations and Technology at West Campus. “Above all, the Core facility that delivers such rich microscopic images is not far removed from artistic imagery. The LeWitt installation draws yet more synergy between science and art on Campus.”  

The West Campus Imaging Core houses a collection of shared microscopes and sample preparation resources to support on-going research at Yale. Microscopes ranging from stereomicroscopes to confocal microscopes are available to all with supervision and training supplied by resident expert Vladimir Polejaev. The facility also hosts the Leica Center of Excellence.