Lawrence Weiner's (born 1942 in New York, USA) half-century career has ranged from Informel and Abstract Expressionism, to the adoption of machine-made or industrially produced art, to positing ideas as the central tenet of art, even at the expense of form. Throughout his multifaceted career Weiner has steadfastly adhered to a language-based practice, creating his first artist's book, Statements, a 64-page offset publication, in… Read more
About the artwork
Familiar to all American schoolboys, Paul Revere issued the command to the lantern bearers "one if by land, two if by sea" to warn his countrymen of the British advance. Weiner has taken this phrase for the lower plates of his work, turning it into linguistic signage using his characteristic block text. His wording creates a rough connectedness, as combined with the enigmatic phrase "& Across the Great Divide"—indicative of both the mountain range separating East and West Coast of America as well as the unknown passage to death—the phrases become profound and ambiguous. This obscurity of the work is only enhanced by the style of the enamel backing of the work, giving it an official feel. Challenging and ambiguous, Weiner creates a new linguistic interpretation drawn from what is in effect a founding myth of America.