NEW YORK.- The first major retrospective of Lawrence Weiners work organized in the United States, Lawrence Weiner: As Far As The Eye Can See, opens at the Whitney Museum of American Art on November 15, 2007, and remains on view through February 10, 2008. A key figure responsible for the emergence and foundations of conceptual art in the 1960s, Lawrence Weiner continues exploring possibilities for ways his art can exist in the world. Co-organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (MOCA) and the Whitney, this landmark exhibition is co-curated by Whitney Museum Chief Curator and Associate Director for Programs Donna De Salvo and MOCA Senior Curator Ann Goldstein. Following its Whitney presentation, the exhibition will be on view at MOCA from April 13 to July 14, 2008.
Lawrence Weiner: AS FAR AS THE EYE CAN SEE is a comprehensive examination of Weiner's remarkable and cohesive oeuvre, assembling key selections and bodies of work from throughout his nearly fifty-year career. The exhibition represents the full range of Weiner's art, from the early Propeller and Removal paintings of the 1960s, to the artist's renowned "specific and general" worksworks using language that have characterized his art since 1968. Also included are works on paper, films, videos, books, posters, multiples, and audio works. In conjunction with the exhibition, a series of Weiners films will be screened at New Yorks Anthology Film Archives.
As co-curator Donna De Salvo remarks, By jettisoning the most fundamental notions about the art object and its dissemination, Lawrence Weiner arrived at a form that has made it possible for him to insinuate his art into the worldthe arena he sees for his work. His works exist on the façades of buildings, as song lyrics, as tattoos on bodies, and of course on the walls of galleries. A compilation of these efforts reads more as atlas than exhibition catalogue.
Weiner has defined art as "the relationship of human beings to objects and objects to objects in relation to human beings," and that premise remains at the core of all of his work. As a pioneer of conceptual art, Weiner began in the 1960s to create works that were central to the ongoing debate on the nature and meaning of art. Weiner was at the forefront of a radical shift in which language or text emerged as a primary medium for the making of art. These artists challenged the object status of painting and sculpture, proposing that the idea and intention of the artist were as important, if not more important, than the object that resulted.
As co-curator Ann Goldstein writes in the accompanying catalogue: Weiners employment of language allows the work to be used by its receiver. It is purposely left open for translation, transference, and transformation; each time the work is made, it is made anew.
Not fixed in time and place, every manifestation and point of reception is differenteach person will use the work differently and find a different relationship to its content. This exhibition examines Weiner's work from his first studio-based manifestations (as Weiner refers to the realization of his works), which were included in his landmark 1968 book STATEMENTS, to later works that address the physical and cultural landscape, and introduce figures of speech, punctuation, and graphic devices. The installations at both the Whitney and MOCA will be designed in close collaboration with the artist.
Weiners practice expands into the world from the spaces of the gallery to the streets of the city. For instance, Weiners work is to be found embedded in the streets of Manhattan: for a Public Art Fund project completed in 2000, he produced nineteen cast-iron manhole covers running from the West Village to Washington Square Park, Union Square Park, and Tompkins Square Park. On each manhole cover are the words IN DIRECT LINE WITH ANOTHER AND THE NEXT.
Since the beginning of his career, Weiner has made films, producing a substantial body of work, including short, conceptual pieces and feature-length narratives. The films will be shown in a series of programs at Anthology Film Archives. Further details will be announced.
Lawrence Weiner was born in the Bronx in 1942 and attended New York City public schools. He spent the late fifties and early sixties traveling throughout the U.S., Mexico, and Canada. The first presentation of his work was in Mill Valley, California, in 1960. He divides his time between a studio in New York and a boat in Amsterdam. Lawrence Weiner: AS FAR AS THE EYE CAN SEE is accompanied by a comprehensive catalogue, co-published by MOCA and the Whitney Museum of American Art and produced in close collaboration with the artist. Designed by award-winning graphic designer Lorraine Wild, the publication features essays by Liam Gillick, Edward Leffingwell, Dieter Schwarz, and Gregor Stemmrich, along with exhibition curators Donna De Salvo and Ann Goldstein. This exhibition was jointly organized by the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. Major support has been provided by Glenn Fuhrman and John and Amy Phelan. Additional support has been provided by Aaron and Barbara Levine. This exhibition is made possible, in part, by Altria Group, Inc.