Biography of Lawrence Weiner
Lawrence Weiner was born in 1942 in New York and is one of the central figures in the formation of Conceptual art. Over a career that has spanned half a century, he has seen the predominant style shift from Abstract Expressionism to Minimalism, has witnessed the popularization of machine-made or industrially produced art and the rise of positing ideas as the central tenet of art. Throughout his multifaceted career Lawrence Weiner has remained contrastingly true to his core style, steadfastly adhering to a language-based practice. He created his first artist’s book, Statements, a 64-page offset publication, in 1968 and has carried this focus and technique throughout the decades.
Joining artists such as Sol LeWitt, Douglas Huebler, Joseph Kosuth, and Robert Barry, Lawrence Weiner became one of the flag-bearers of orthodox Conceptualism and is regarded as the founding figure of Postminimalism’s Conceptual art. He is renowned for making work which occupies liminal space, rather than any physical realm and his treatment of publications as exhibitions. His work redefines the artist and viewer relationship, often presenting a work of art that is contained within an idea rather than a physical thing.
Perhaps Lawrence Weiner’s best-known work is his 1968 Declaration of Intent:
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.
A comprehensive retrospective of Lawrence Weiner’s work was held at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. Solo exhibitions of his work have also been held at Deutsche Guggenheim in Berlin, Tate Gallery in London and Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. Lawrence Weiner has also participated in documenta three times as well as the 2005 Venice Biennale.