1942 · United States
An essential figure of twentieth-century American Conceptual Art, Lawrence Weiner revolutionized the relationship between word and image by making text a key component of many of his compositions.
Introducing such text-based riffs in his work was timed to perfection, as it was during this moment that colleagues were embracing the practice of total abstraction. By incorporating text, then, Wiener was not only charting his own course (given the fact that the pure constructs of language have symbolic meaning) but also exploring his own interest in the bounds between sculpture and painting. Weiner considered his works more sculptural in nature, and thus the addition of text and the practice of “building” words helped to reinforce his overall vision.
Born in 1942 in the Bronx, Weiner attended Hunter College but never completed his degree, choosing instead to travel and learn by doing. His influential role in American art history is attested to by the celebration of his work in recent decades. He was the subject, for example, of a massive retrospective at New York’s Whitney Museum of American Art (2007-2008). Weiner’s works are in many of the world’s major collections, such as the Tate Gallery in London, the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York.