Exclusive interview with the legendary conceptual artist Lawrence Weiner. Weiner talks about life, art and his work. A talk about time, cruelty, hierarchy, rationality and to fuck up people's lives.
"Art is not about telling. It's about showing".
Lawrence Weiner (b. 1942) is one of the central figures in the formation of conceptual art in the 1960s. His work often takes the form of typographic texts.
Weiner is regarded as a founding figure of Postminimalism’s Conceptual art, which includes artists like Douglas Huebler, Robert Barry, Joseph Kosuth, and Sol LeWitt.
Weiner began his career as an artist as a very young man at the height of Abstract Expressionism. His debut public work/exhibition was at the age of 19, with what he called Cratering Piece. An action piece, the work consisted of explosives set to ignite simultaneously in the four corners of a field in Marin County, California. That work, as Weiner later developed his practice as a painter, became an epiphany for the turning point in his career. His work in the early 1960s included six years of making explosions in the landscape of California to create craters as individual sculptures. He is also known during his early work for creating gestures described in simple statements leading to the ambiguity of whether the artwork was the gesture or the statement describing the gesture: e.g."Two minutes of spray paint directly on the floor.." or " A 36" x 36" removal of lathing or support wall..." (both 1968).
In the late 1960s he was picked up by the uber-dealer Leo Castelli, whose gallery was responsible for promoting many of the abstract expressionists and early pop artists of the time, including Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg.
Weiner formulated his "Declaration of Intent" (1968):
1. The artist may construct the piece.
2. The piece may be fabricated.
3. The piece need 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.
Since the early 1970s, wall installations have been Weiner's primary medium. Nevertheless, Weiner works in a wide variety of media, including video, film, books, sound art using audio tape, sculpture, performance art, installation art and graphic art.
Weiner had a major retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2007);
Other solo exhibitions include Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (2013), Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona, Spain (2013), Haus der Kunst, Munich, Germany (2007), Museo Tamayo Arte Contemporaneo, Mexico City (2004), Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, Germany (2000), Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (1994) and Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington DC (1990). He participated in documenta 5, 6, 7, and 13 (1972, 1977, 1982, 2012), the 36th, 41st, 50th and 55th Venice Biennales (1972, 1984, 2003, 2013) and the 27th Biennale de Sao Paulo (2006).
Among many honours he was awarded fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts (1976, 1983), a Guggenheim Fellowship (1994), the Wolfgang Hahn Prize, Museum Ludwig, Cologne (1995), a Skowhegan Medal for Painting/Conceptual Art (1999) and an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from the Graduate Center, City University of New York (2013).
Lawrence Weiner | filmed by Out of Sync | NYC Oct 2013
Interview | Jesper Bundgaard
Camera and edit | Per Henriksen
Producer | Out of Sync
Artworks courtesy | Lawrence Weiner
© Out of Sync 2016