Lawrence Weiner (b: 1942) is an American artist and one of the founders of the conceptual art movement. His most notable works are short statements that describe things that could potentially be constructed but need not be actually built. The first time I saw Weiner’s work almost seven years ago I didn’t understand or appreciate it and was confused why it was on display in a museum. After learning more about conceptual art and researching Weiner’s life and work, I now understand his artistic intent and understand why he is an important artist.
Lawrence Weiner at the MoMA
My first exposure to Lawrence Weiner’s work was on November 5th, 2011. I was attending one of MoMA’s “Modern Member Nights” for contributing members shortly after I bought a membership to the museum. I was there on a date with someone I had met a few weeks prior. We walked through the museum’s galleries and came upon Weiner’s “language art.” We were perplexed by what we saw. He seemed to make up titles for works of art but not actually create anything, leaving the task of constructing a piece that matched the title to curators and other museum employees.