Sol LeWitt, active from the 1960s, was a pioneer of Minimalism and Conceptual art. He often worked with simple geometric forms—particularly the cube—straight lines, and ninety-degree angles. Hanging Structure’s suspended three-dimensional grid, composed of identical, monochromatic units, is emblematic of this interest.
In contrast, Terence Koh, inspired by queer, punk, and DIY cultures, belongs to a 1990s generation whose work is more personally inflected. Embracing decay and ephemerality, Untitled (Vitrines) displays whitewashed objects collected from friends, lovers, Koh’s childhood, and flea markets, acting almost as a shrine preserving relics from his life. The sculpture departs significantly from LeWitt’s strict vision yet engages with the legacies of Minimalism and Conceptual art, exploring the possibilities of the grid and the monochrome and extending those formal considerations into the personal realm.
Gift of Peres Projects, Inc.
33 glass cases with objects of various media, including porcelain, wood, metal, bone, plastic, bronze, plaster, and paint. Dimensions vary with installation.
This item is not on view
Terence Koh (Canadian, Shanghai, China, born 1977). Untitled (Vitrines), 2006. Mixed media, variable. Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Peres Projects, Inc., 2008.34. © artist or artist's estate (Photo: Courtesy Peres Projects, Berlin Los Angeles. ? Lutz Bertram, Berlin, CUR.2008.34_Courtesy_Peres_Projects_Berlin_Los_Angeles_001.jpg)
. Courtesy Peres Projects, Berlin Los Angeles. ? Lutz Bertram, Berlin, 2008
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Why does this have a hole in it? Did the artist do this intentionally?
The hole is definitely a detail created by the artist, Terence Koh. He is interested in exploring ideas of ephemerality and decay. In this work Koh creates something like a shrine, with these items preserved as "relics." You could also think of it as an artistic take on the kind of display case you might see at a natural history, filled with objects of organic and inorganic materials.
However, I am not certain why the artist felt compelled to make a hole in the vitrine. Contemporary artists often don't provide a lot of explanation about their work, in part to leave the meaning of the work open to interpretation. In my opinion the hole adds to this sense of decay, and I think it could also be read as an opportunity for escape.
Why are these paired?
I love the juxtaposition of those two works. Both have grid-like formats but the Terence Koh is so individual and emotional, filled with objects that have personal meaning for him, while the Sol LeWitt is purely conceptual and makes us think about space and volume in an almost mathematical way.