The Greenway Wall at Dewey Square Park
A TRANSLATION FROM ONE LANGUAGE TO ANOTHER by Lawrence Weiner
The Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy, in partnership with the MIT List Visual Arts Center, commissioned a new temporary mural by internationally acclaimed artist Lawrence Weiner for the Greenway Wall this fall. Weiner’s mural, a textual work titled A TRANSLATION FROM ONE LANGUAGE TO ANOTHER, was installed over several days, from September 14-21, 2015, and is The Greenway’s fourth mural on the building at Dewey Square Park across from South Station. (See the time lapse video at right for a view at the installation process!)
The annual rotation of the 70’ x 76’ mural on the air-intake structure is an award-winning focal point in The Greenway’s contemporary public art efforts. The previous Greenway Wall mural (Seven Moon Junction by Shinique Smith) and the original mural (The Giant of Boston by Os Gemeos) were recognized by the Public Art Network as one of the best public artworks in the country in 2014 and 2012, respectively. Seven Moon Junction was commissioned by The Greenway through a partnership with the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; the prior two murals, which also included Matthew Ritchie’s Remanence: Salt and Light (Part II), were in partnership with the Institute of Contemporary Art.
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.
September 14-17: Removal of existing Greenway Wall mural
September 17-21: Installation of Weiner's mural
September 24, 5-7pm: Free opening reception featuring informal meet and greet with artist Lawrence Weiner, Paul Ha and Henriette Huldisch - MIT List Curatorial Team, Lucas Cowan – Public Art Curator for The Greenway, and OverAll Murals- painting team. Featuring live music by Berklee College of Music, Poetry Slams and food trucks.
70 by 76 feet
Lawrence Weiner, Artist; Overall Murals of New York City, specialists in hand-painting large scale murals; Arch Painting of Woburn, Greenway Wall preparation and priming; MARR Scaffolding Company, provider of 80 and 60 foot boom lift, both operated by mural painters.
The Wall is primed with two coats of white primer.
A TRANSLATION FROM ONE LANGUAGE TO ANOTHER is gridded, projected onto rolls of paper, and “pounced” — traced by burning tiny holes in the paper with electro pounce equipment. The pounced paper is affixed to the building surface, and the artwork is transferred to the Wall by forcing micro-ground charcoal dust through the holes. The outline is then perfected by hand with pencil and marker. The Wall is hand painted by a team of artists from Overall Murals using both brush and roller techniques.
The font used is titled MARGARET SEAWORTHY GOTHIC, an original design by the artist.
Mural installation began September 14 and was completed by September 21.
Approximately 22 gallons of the highest-grade, classic, oil-based sign paints are hand mixed to match Weiner’s original artwork.
Check out Malcolm Gay's featured article in The Boston Globe!
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