A TRANSLATION FROM ONE LANGUAGE TO ANOTHER, 2015
Lawrence Weiner is considered a key figure in the Conceptual Art movement, which includes artists like Douglas Huebler, Robert Barry, Joseph Kosuth, and Sol LeWitt.
A primary motivating factor behind Weiner’s work is the desire to make it accessible, without needing to purchase a ticket or understand a secret visual language. He contended that language reaches a broader audience, and situating language in contexts outside traditional art-viewing settings, such as art museums, furthers that reach. Thus, he began creating works consisting of words and sentences or sentence fragments that he displayed in public spaces, books, films, and other accessible media, as opposed to the cultural institutions that might deter broad and diverse viewership. His 1969 Statement of Intent reads as follows:
- The artist may construct the piece.
- The piece may be fabricated.
- 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.
In his statement, Weiner declared that a work of art could remain conceptual—in language form—or it could be created if so desired. The maker need not be an artist, and there was no “right way” to do it. Those three points have guided Weiner’s work and uncensored philosophy toward art making and art viewing throughout his career. His practice renews the simplest goal of art: to facilitate a personal experience and consideration of one’s place in the world.