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New Sol LeWitt Wall Drawing Installed in DC

The 45-foot work at 1150 18th Street, Northwest, is one of only a handful in the Washington area.

“Wall Drawing 882-D,” in the lobby of 1150 18th Street, Northwest. Photograph by Andrew Propp.

Art lovers compiling their cultural must-sees in the District probably don’t have
many Farragut North office buildings on their list. But the lobby of the
Don Hisaka-designed 1150 18th Street, Northwest, recently upped its cultural worth significantly
with the installation of a
Sol LeWitt wall drawing—one of only a few in the Washington area.

“Wall Drawing 882-D” is 45 feet long, and consists of undulating white lines waving
across a black surface. “It’s striking because of its sheer volume—it’s a very prominent
feature,” says
Craig Deitelzweig of Rockrose Development Corporation, which owns the building. “This is one of the
larger installations of LeWitt in DC, and it’s the perfect piece for the building
because of its modern aesthetic.”

LeWitt died in 2007, but even during his lifetime he rarely
executed wall drawings
himself. Instead he created blueprints for them with detailed
instructions on how
they should be made. LeWitt designed more than 1,270 different
wall drawings during
his career, but only a handful can be found in Washington. “No.
681 C”

is on display in the National Gallery of Art’s East Building,
along with “Wall Drawing

#65,” which
four artists
installed in view of the public over nine days in 2004. There
are also wall drawings
on view at the Hirshhorn Museum and inside the DC Convention

“Wall Drawing 882-D” was installed by New York-based artist
Michael Benjamin Vedder with the help of three student artists:
Reuben Breslar and
Jihee Kang, from the Corcoran, and Elle Brande, from the Maryland Institute College of Art*. Part of the lobby was closed off for 15 days while the team executed the work, applying
two coats of base paint, drawing the lines in pencil, and using drafting tape to mark
the work’s curved lines. A lot of the process, Vedder says, involved literally “waiting
for paint to dry,” since the work required around seven coats of paint. The artists
also had to use a specific method of brushing, which Vedder says the crew picked up
right away.

LeWitt’s wall drawings are unique in that their relationship with the artist is purely
conceptual. “Sol’s work is not what you see on the wall,” Vedder says. “It’s the draftsperson’s
job to interpret it in each particular setting.” The works are purchased in the form
of instructions with a signed certificate,
and can only exist in one place at a time. “Each one is an individual,” says Vedder,
who’s installed around 25 different LeWitt drawings in various locations, including
at the 25-year exhibition of wall drawings at MASS MoCa
that opened in 2008. “If someone buys the design, the piece of paper, it’s from someone
else, so whoever had it before has to paint it out.”

Rockrose declined to disclose how much it paid for
“882-D,” but Vedder says similar
works have sold for around $300,000. Chicago’s Rhona Hoffman
Gallery is currently
being sued for

by the owner of “Wall Drawing 448” after the gallery lost the
work’s signed set of
instructions, effectively rendering it worthless.

Either way, the work is a striking addition to an otherwise quiet block in downtown

To see a slideshow of images detailing how the work was created, click here.

*This post has been updated from a previous version.