controlled variation

 In conceptual art the idea or concept is the most important aspect of the work. When an artist uses a conceptual form of art, it means that all of the planning and decisions are made beforehand and the execution is a perfunctory affair.
Sol LeWitt, 1967

Sol LeWitt’s conceptualism is a powerful methodology of forgetting.  It came into being as an answer to the creative paralysis induced by the triumph and subsequent enervation of American Abstract Expressionism.  In order to make art new, its history had to be actively “forgotten.”  Forgetting, in this sense, is not a literal amnesia, but an affirmation strategy to overcome the burden of history.  The belief that one’s work was reinventing art by returning to ground zero has been one of the most productive fictions in twentieth century art.  The conceptual approach gave LeWitt, whose ambitions exceeded those of second generation Abstract Expressionism, the permission he needed to make things again; to remove all self-censorship in the “perfunctory” execution of “art ideas.”
from Sol LeWitt: Incomplete Open Cubes, edited by Nicholas Baume.