Drawing on the Wall

The new contemporary galleries not only show works that have been in the museum collection for many years to better advantage than was ever possible in the old spaces, they also offer opportunities to highlight brand-new acquisitions. One such piece is Sol LeWitt’s Wall Drawing #4, created in 1969 and acquired by the museum last year. Because these walls did not exist when the drawing was created—or even when the museum acquired it—the work must be created on-site based on a set of instructions left by the artist, who died in 2007. These installations are carried out by crews of professional drafters.

Cleveland Heights native Megan Dyer and her husband, Tomas Ramberg, installed the museum’s drawing with the help of Michael Marks and Arthur Beukemann from the museum’s installation crew. Dyer describes the process: “With a work that’s been done before, the main object is to recreate the first version as precisely as we can. This work is part of a theme Sol LeWitt came back to over and over, called Lines in Four Directions. I’ve done this one, I suppose, about 15 times—sometimes in fine pencil, like this, other times in big thick lines of acrylic or wax, depending on the scale.

“Sol would never allow doing it on a panel, or anything like that,” Dyer continues. “It has to be directly on a wall. A month or so ago someone asked if it could be done on a door and we had to say ‘no’ because it could be removed. I think Sol saw it as like a fresco. He spent a lot of time in Italy and his wife was from an Italian family, and I think the tradition of the fresco had a lot of influence on him.”

Dyer adds a final comment about her job title. “People used to call us ‘draftsmen,’” she notes, “but so many of us are women now that they had to change it. And ‘draftspeople’ sounds stupid. So we’re drafters.”

 


Cleveland Art, May/June 2009