In March 1976, Sol Lewitt had his first solo exhibition at the Visual Arts Museum (209 E. 23rd Street). The work exhibited wasn’t the piece itself, but rather the result of instructions he gave to third parties: they assembled a large graphic combination drawn from a vocabulary of white-on-black linear figures provided by the artist. Instead of hiring technicians or specialists to screen the shapes in a particular order, the artist made explicit that the idea or set of instructions for the art was itself the art, rather than the artifact it produced. He continued the process across several similar pieces, some of which used the same graphic forms — one, Wall Drawing #260, was the subject of a recent focus exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art.
More Tony Palladino at the Museum of Modern Art: “Tube Floor Lamp,” part of the museum’s permanent collection since 1968, is currently on view in the exhibition What Was Good Design? alongside objects by Charles and Ray Eames, Hans Wegner, Arne Jacobsen and Bruno Munari.
Tony Palladino contributed this sign — a found object — to the 1966 Museum of Modern Art exhibition The Object Transformed. Curated by Mildred Constantine and Arthur Drexler for the museum’s Architecture and Design Department, it featured works by Jasper Johns, Man Ray, Bruno Minari, Meret Oppenheim, Robert Rauschenberg, and others. In the New York Times, John Canaday wrote,
“The Object Transformed” is a collection of utilitarian objects—chairs, books, mattresses, radio sets, cutlery, articles of clothing and the like—that artists or designers have transformed in a variety of ways, sometimes humourously, often monstrously, but always expressively in one direction or another.
In the introduction to the exhibition’s catalogue (designed by Massimo Vignelli), Constantine describes the objects as “apparitions of everyday reality, complete with overtones of grim absurdity,” and suggests “for the 20th century they may be the most appropriate kind of still life.” Admission was $1.25.