George Stolz’s article will examine Sol LeWitt’s writings and use of language, tracing the role of text-based instructions in the development of conceptual art. In addition to a study of LeWitt’s works that incorporate language per se, the article will cite and discuss LeWitt’s writings, interviews, and public talks, and make linkages between his use of language and an overarching ethical component found throughout LeWitt’s practice. LeWitt’s “Sentences on Conceptual Art” and “Paragraphs on Conceptual Art” were so incisive and forceful that they came to serve as manifestos, rigid and ready-made frameworks through which to interpret his work. Stolz’s article will argue that the full spectrum of LeWitt’s use of language was in fact suppler, more complex, and more consciously concerned with language’s malleable capacity for agency, transmission, and performativity.

George Stolz is an independent critic and curator based in Madrid and New York. From a background in literature and journalism he shifted to writing about art and later to curating exhibitions. Stolz has curated at such museums as the ICO Museum in Madrid, MACBA (Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art), Camera Austria, and the Gemeentemuseum (Netherlands). He edited Especulaciones, a collection of Hollis Frampton’s writings (2007), and has lectured at the Dia Foundation and the Mapfre Foundation. He has been a guest professor at the University of Miami and at various Spanish universities. He began working with Sol LeWitt in 2002 when he co-curated the exhibition Sol LeWitt in La Coruna, Spain; he later curated the exhibition Sol LeWitt: Fotografia that toured Europe. At the time of LeWitt’s death in 2007, Stolz was working closely with him on preparing a collection of his writings, and at present he is finalizing the project with the artist’s estate.