1942, New York (US) - 2021, New York (US)
Lawrence Weiner is one of the central figures in the formation of conceptual art in the 1960s. Weiner’s early work included experiments with systematic approaches to shaped canvases and later, featured squares cut out of carpeting or walls. A turning point came in 1968, when he created a work for an outdoor exhibition organized by Siegelaub at Windham College in Putney, Vermont. Weiner proposed to define the space for his work with rather unobtrusive means: “A series of stakes set in the ground at regular intervals to form a rectangle with twine strung from stake to stake to demark a grid—a rectangle removed from this rectangle.” When students cut down the twine because it hampered their access across the campus lawn, Weiner realized that his piece could have been even less obtrusive: viewers could have experienced the same effect Weiner desired simply by reading a verbal description of the work. Not long after this, Weiner turned to language as the primary vehicle for his work, concluding in 1968 that:
“(1) The artist may construct the piece.
(2) The piece may be fabricated.
(3) The piece may not be built.
[Each being equal and consistent with the intent of the artist, the decision as to condition rests with the receiver upon the occasion of receivership.]”
Lawrence Weiner - installation view of All in Due Course, at the South London Gallery in 2014
Lawrence Weiner - Installation view of ON VIEW at Regen Projects, Los Angeles in 2020
Lawrence Weiner - Installation view of PLACED ON THE TIP OF A WAVE at Regen Projects, Los Angeles in 2009
Lawrence Weiner - LEAD ON GLASS, 2005
Lawrence Weiner - Green as well as Blue as well as Red, 1972
Lawrence Weiner - A DETERMINATION OF WHERE WHAT FALLS OFFSIDE RESTS, 2007
Lawrence Weiner - HOWSOEVER IT SEEMS IT SEEMS SO HOWSOEVER, 2012
Lawrence Weiner - WITHIN A REALM OF RELATIVE FORM, 2005
The wall installations that have been a primary medium for Weiner since the 1970s consist solely of words in a nondescript lettering painted on walls. The lettering need not be done by the Weiner himself, as long as the sign painter complies with the instructions dictated by the artist. Although this body of work focuses on the potential for language to serve as an art form, the subjects of his epigrammatic statements are often materials, or a physical action or process. In the succeeding decades, Weiner explored the interaction of punctuation, shapes, and colour to serve as inflections of meaning for his texts.
(courtesy of the Guggenheim Collection)
Major solo exhibitions of Weiner’s work have been mounted at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington D.C.; Institute of Contemporary Arts, London; Dia Center for the Arts, New York; Musée d’Art Contemporain, Bordeaux; SF MOMA; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Philadelphia Museum of Art; Museum Ludwig, Cologne; Museo Tamayo Arte Contemporáneo in Mexico City; Tate Gallery, London; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.
Laurence Weiner is represented by the following galleries;
click through to discover more of his work.
Lawrence Weiner - Outdoor commission of AS TO BE IN PLAIN SIGHT at the Denver Art Museum, Colorado in 2011
Lawrence Weiner - Wind en de wilgen 1995 at Middelheimmuseum Antwerp
Lawrence Weiner - PLACED ON THE TIP OF A WAVE, 2009
Lawrence Weiner - Water Made It Wet, at Kunstfestivalen Lofoten, Norway in 1998
Lawrence Weiner - THIS AS THAT BE THAT AS IT MAY, 2012
Lawrence Weiner - Public Commission, 2018 at Tai Kwun Centre for Heritage and Arts, Hong Kong, China
Lawrence Weiner - PUSH AS IF & LEFT AS IS, 2012
Lawrence Weiner - Installation view of All in Due Course, at the South London Gallery in 2014