Lawrence Weiner, Artist Whose Medium Was Language, Dies at 79


Lawrence Weiner used language as a source of vast visual arts that worked outside the boundaries of poetry and aphorisms, sometimes in Delphic, generally in anticipation of the human condition, and outside the boundaries of poetry and aphorisms. Used and died at home and in the studio on Thursday. In Manhattan. He was 79 years old.

Marian Goodman Gallery, who has represented him for over 30 years, has announced his death. The gallery didn’t quote the cause, but Weiner had been fighting cancer for several years.

Weiner, a pioneer of the conceptual art movement (who prefers to spur and simply call himself a sculptor), moved away from objects in the 1960s towards ideas and actions as a foundation of some sort. It matured during the radical pivot of art. Of work that shares a substantive foundation with philosophy, linguistics, and anti-capitalist politics. More than any other artist of his generation, Mr. Weiner, as his metier, was engraved on the walls and floor, engraved on the manhole cover, posters, signs, book pages, matchbook covers, life preservers, T-shirts. I settled down on the words printed on.

Early works often served as a basic explanation of actions that could be performed to create a physical representation of art, but not necessarily. Stucco or wallboard from the wall “;” Spray paint for 2 minutes directly on the floor from a standard aerosol spray can. “

However, over time, the work he described as “language + referenced material” was linked to state of existence, linguistic structure, and abstract thinking, rather than possible scenarios. “A little problem and a little more”; “In the context of (often found) effectiveness / from major to minor / from small to large /.”

Most important to him was the interaction between the work and the viewer, who had a great deal of responsibility in incorporating, pondering, incorporating into his experience, and attempting the work. Of course, such exchanges occur in all works of art. However, Weiner (pronounced WEEN-er) is very supportive of his work and what he called “aesthetic fascism” of the concept of masterpieces and geniuses that have been popular for centuries. I thought I was still against it.

He said that if his work was sometimes difficult to understand, it was because he himself was deliberately and violently tackling the meaning messily. I thought it was the root reason for the artist he exists.

“I was one of those who decided that the concept of being an artist was embarrassing in public,” he said during a retrospective exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, curator Donna de Salvo. Said in 2007. “It was just a role of being an artist, because the artist was supposed to be invested in something that Pat didn’t answer.”

In another conversation in the collection “Having Been Said,” he expressed his thoughts more frankly. “The only art I’m interested in is the art that I don’t understand right away. If I can understand it right away, it’s useless except for nostalgia,” he said.

Lawrence Charles Weiner was born on February 10, 1942 in Manhattan and grew up in South Bronx. In South Bronx, parents Harold Weiner and Toba (Horowitz) Weiner ran a small candy store. He said he was basically happy to develop a working class, but by the age of 12, he worked part-time at the dock to earn extra money and later a reformist threat due to various misconduct attacks. I remembered being exposed to.

He enrolled in Manhattan’s prestigious Stuyvesant High School and graduated at the age of 16. After that, he got a strange job, wandered the country, absorbed the spirit of the beat, tried to understand what he wanted to do, learned philosophy, and occasionally experimented with expressionists. Painting.

In 1960, while hitchhiking to California, he made progress by leaving a small sculpture on the side of the road. In Mill Valley near San Francisco, with the help of a friend, he made what he considers to be his first work. State park field. In that detail, the work was pre-configured with much of what was to come. It is public, politically unstable, created by sparse means, and leaves no objects behind.

The real Epiphany happened in 1968 at Wyndham College in Putney, Vermont, when he held an exhibition with his fellow young artists Carl Andre and Robert Barry. Weiner, who was still working on minimalist painting at the time, decided to make a spare outdoor sculpture by forming a grid of 34 wooden stakes in the field and connecting the stakes with more string. However, it turned out that the field was used for touch football games, and players quickly abolished what appeared to be some sort of surveying arrangement, certainly not art.

“It didn’t look like the Philistines had done any special harm to the work,” Weiner later said when he saw the dismantled work. The description of the work as a set of possible instructions suddenly became sufficient. “And that was it,” he said. “That certainly wasn’t a reason to go out and hit someone.”

Shortly thereafter, he wrote a set of principles that served him and some of his fellow artists as a kind of conceptualist Nicaea belief. You can manufacture pieces. You don’t have to make a piece. In the case of the trustee, the decision on the conditions is left to the trustee, as each is equal and consistent with the artist’s intentions. “

Over the next few years, his work was included in a series of exhibitions that marked a turning point in the history of conceptual art, including the “Live in Your Head: When Attitudes Become Form” held in Kunsthalle Bern, Switzerland in 1969. “Information” held at the Museum of Modern Art, New York in 1970. “Documenta 5” was held in Kassel, West Germany in 1972.

Using an innovative contract developed by curator Seth Siegelaub and lawyer Robert Proyansky, Weiner gave the owners legal ownership of the concept and in various ways they deem appropriate. He sold his work in the form of a document that gave him the freedom to realize. He also designated many works that could not be bought or sold and could be realized in consultation with him as “public liberty rights”.

Over the years, his work has had little financial support, despite the widespread critical admiration and award procession. “The overall problem is that we accepted that bricks could compose sculptures long ago,” he told curator Benjamin Buchloh in 2017. “I accepted long ago that fluorescent lights could make up a painting. We accepted it all. We accept gestures as making up a sculpture.”

But things went south rapidly, “the moment you suggested that language itself was a component of sculpture,” he said.

Weiner and his longtime partner Alice Zimmerman Weiner (who met in 1967 and married in 2003) raised her daughter Kirsten on a small boat named Joma anchored in Amsterdam. rice field. heat. “It wasn’t easy and it wasn’t fun,” he said in an interview with the 2007 New York Times. His resume is written in so many countries and languages ​​that it can be read more like an atlas than a list of works.

He is survived by his wife and their daughter, Kirsten Bybeke Tuson Weiner, and sisters, Eileen Judith Weiner, and grandchildren. He lived in West Village and Amsterdam.

In addition to other works, Weiner spent a considerable amount of time on experimental films and videos for over 40 years, including a collaboration with Kathryn Bigelow.

For a long time, Mr. Weiner, with a unique font he designed for himself, a Viking-like beard that seems to be closely related to the name of Margaret’s sea-resistant Gothic, is a humor and young artist. Was known for his generosity towards students. Personally, he’s a rare combination of working-class grit and pan-European sophistication, smoking irregular hand-rolled cigarettes, ensuring that Bronx is left behind, rounded with unplaceable accents. I spoke in the profound language of Basso.

Last year, in a conversation with musician and artist Kim Gordon, he said he tried to find out what effect his work wanted to achieve.

“The funny thing is that people make art for others. The vision is to hold a concert, and when everyone leaves the concert, they all whistle something. It’s a populist. It’s not — it’s just giving someone something they can use. That’s why my job is to give the world something that can be used. “


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