Lawrence Weiner, Untitled (OBSCURE HORIZON), 2003, Courtesy of the Artist.

Lawrence Weiner, Les trois petits canards, 1998, Courtesy of the artist and Yvon Lambert.

Lawrence Weiner, Works on Paper (The Work is Complete)

Lawrence Weiner, Les trois petits canards, 1998, Courtesy of the artist and Yvon Lambert.

Lawrence Weiner, Les trois petits canards, 1998, Courtesy of the artist and Yvon Lambert.

Lawrence Weiner, untitled (POR SI MISMO), 2001, Staples, watercolor, ink, pencil, gouache on pasted paper, 35.8 x 35.4 cm, Private Collection, Lawrence Weiner, VEGAP, 2013, © photography: Courtesy of Moved Pictures Archive, NYC.

Lawrence Weiner, untitled (AFTER ANY GIVEN TIME), n.d., Ink, paint pen on lined paper, 28.5 x 21.5 cm, Private Collection, Lawrence Weiner, VEGAP, 2013, © photography: Courtesy of Moved Pictures Archive, NYC.


Plaça dels Àngels, 1
+ 34 93 412 08 10
Written on the Wind.
Lawrence Weiner Drawings

March 8-June 24, 2013

MACBA presents, for the first time, an exhibition devoted to the works on paper by one of most influential artists of our time. Written on the Wind brings together nearly 300 drawings spanning the last 50 years including some — such as pages from the artist’s personal notebooks – shown publicly for the first time.

Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA) presents the first monographic exhibition devoted to works on paper by one of the most outstanding artists of the late-20th century, Lawrence Weiner (Bronx, New York, 1942).

Written on the Wind comprises an exhaustive survey of Weiner’s trajectory through nearly 300 drawings produced over a 50-year period. The exhibition is organized as if it were a drawing itself. Weiner himself created the graphic images for the show, including posters and banners distributed all over Barcelona, occupying the public space.

This exhibition presents for the first time an in-depth overview of Weiner’s drawings oeuvre, together with cartoons and notebooks, the origin and base of his entire production. These drawings contain his initial thoughts and ideas that are often gradually transformed into works.

Written on the Wind features drawings on paper, city maps, cigar boxes, wood and other diverse supports. While in his sculpture Weiner uses language rigorously and with maximum objectivity, his drawings are imbued with great creative freedom.

Drawing is a medium in which we find the artist is at his most approachable. As a result, Weiner’s subjectivity, something he has always attempted to conceal, becomes apparent. The drawings are a way of representing, not only his obsessions, but also the creative context and processes.

Biography Lawrence Weiner was born in the Bronx, New York, in 1942 and lives between the American city and his boat in Amsterdam. He began to study Philosophy and Literature at Hunter College in New York, but dropped out after a year to travel around the United States, Mexico and Canada.

A forerunner of conceptual art in the 1960s, he published the following statement of intent: “The artist may construct the work. The work may be fabricated. The work need not be built”. These three forthright yet very simple aphorisms have guided his work ever since, and marked a turning-point in the history of contemporary art.

According to Weiner, then, art needs no physical support; it is enough to communicate an idea. He associates drawing with the articulation of thought, two things that meet on the very surface. Lawrence Weiner has always made drawings, but until now no specific study has been made of this oeuvre, which forms an essential, structural medium in his work.

Lawrence Weiner at MACBAWritten on the Wind is a pioneering exhibition that brings together the first time Weiner’s works on paper from the early 1960s to the present. Besides its value as visual material, drawing also provides a direct glimpse of the creative evolution of this artist for whom language is the raw material of art. In the exhibition at MACBA, chronological or thematic organization is eschewed; rather the gestures with which Weiner infuses his works leap onto the museum walls and accompany viewers throughout the exhibition.

The works generate a dialogue between artist and viewer that reveals many of Weiner’s own obsessions, recurring themes, as well as the more intimate processual part that we do not always see in his sculptural work. Whilst in his sculptures the visual becomes a linguistic act, in his notebooks it is the word that creates the gesture. The exhibition at MACBA presents a large and varied selection of drawings, grouped into two categories: the series, which tell a story in themselves; and materials that, delimit the stories.

The works correspond to different periods in Weiner’s artistic career. From the early years, when he painted on cut-up canvases and experimented with different forms of automatic art, to his use of language as the central element in his sculpture, something that — strange though it may seem — actually reinforces the practice of drawing. Written on the Wind features drawings on various supports. Whilst in his sculpture Weiner uses language rigorously and with maximum objectivity, his drawings are imbued with great creative freedom. These drawings include writing, typographic texts, signage, collages, colour, printing and other elements in a dialogue that fluctuates between the precision of the concept and the freedom of the gesture.

Works by Lawrence Weiner in Barcelona In the public space in Barcelona stands the sculpture Mistral, in Avinguda Mistral, commissioned and acquired as part of the sculpture programme that the curator and publisher Glòria Moure implemented in the city in 1986. For its part, the MACBA Foundation acquired the highly significant piece Some Objects of Desire (2004), which has been installed in the Museum atrium since 2009.

Very recently, moreover, on February 27 this year, the installation Forever & A Day, produced by ArtAids Foundation, was unveiled at the Santa Caterina market. This bench-sculpture will be there for public use for a year in the market square.

Curators of the exhibition are Bartomeu Marí and Soledad Gutiérrez. The exhibition is organized by Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA) and co-produced with the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. The catalogue is Written on the Wind. Lawrence Weiner Drawings. Barcelona: Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA), 2013.

Lawrence Weiner, untitled (WATER IN MILK EXISTS), 2008, Magazine cut-outs, standard playing cards, Xerox, Inkjet, staples, ink, gouache, Faber-Castell colored pencil on pasted paper, 51.5 x 82.4 cm, Private Collection, Lawrence Weiner, VEGAP, 2013, © photography: Courtesy of Moved Pictures Archive, NYC.


Lawrence Weiner, untitled (OVAL OVER THE TRIANGLE [VICTORY]), 1999, Labeler tape, ink, watercolor, oval cut-out, pencil on paper, 21 x 13.7 cm, Private Collection, Lawrence Weiner, VEGAP, 2013, © photography: Courtesy of Moved Pictures Archive, NYC.

Lawrence Weiner, WATER MADE IT WET, 1998, language and the materials referred to, dimension variable, courtesy of Moved Pictures, New York, Installation at Kunstfestivalen, Lofoten, Norway. SpilleRom. 1999.

Lawrence Weiner's Challenge to Object Status of Painting and Sculpture

Installation view of Lawrence Weiner: As Far as the Eye Can See at Whitney Museum of American Art.

Lawrence Weiner, BITS & PIECES PUT TOGETHER TO PRESENT A SEMBLANCE OF A WHOLE, 1991, language and the materials referred to, courtesy Moved Pictures, New York, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, 1994.

Lawrence Weiner, Een vertaling van de ene taal in de andere (A Translation from one language to another), 1996, Spui, Amsterdam, Three pairs of two stones placed against eachother. On each stone there is written "A Translation from one language to another". Each in another language. Dutch, English, Surinam, and Arabic.

Lawrence Weiner, Displacement, Dia Center for the Arts, New York, 1991.

Lawrence Weiner, IN DIRECT LINE WITH ANOTHER & THE NEXT, 2000. Cast-iron manhole cover, 31 15/16 in. (81.1cm). Public Art Fund project in collaboration with Con Edison and Roman Stone, New York; Courtesy Moved Pictures Archiv;, New York Photograph by Kirsten Weiner.


Geffen Contemporary
152 North Central Avenue
Los Angeles
Lawrence Weiner:

April 13-July 14, 2008

A key figure associated with the emergence and foundations of conceptual art in the 1960s, Lawrence Weiner remains one of the most remarkably dynamic and relevant artists working today.

Co-organized by Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (MOCA), and Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, this landmark exhibition is co-curated by MOCA Senior Curator Ann Goldstein and Whitney Museum Chief Curator and Associate Director for Programs Donna De Salvo.

Following its initial presentation at the Whitney Museum and subsequent presentation at MOCA, the exhibition will travel to K21 Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen in Düsseldorf, Germany, where it will be on view from September 27, 2008 to January 4, 2009.

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 career of more than 40 years.

The exhibition represents the full range of Weiner’s art, from the early Propeller and Removal paintings of the 1960s, to the artist’s “specific and general” works using language, which has characterized his art since 1968. Also included are works on paper, films, videos, books, posters, multiples, and audio works.

This exhibition examines Weiner’s work from his first studio-based manifestations, which were included in his landmark 1968 book STATEMENTS, to later works that address the physical and cultural landscape around us, which introduce as form adaptations of grammatic and graphic devices and everyday figures of speech. Both the installations at MOCA and the Whitney are designed closely with the artist.

As each venue is distinct and unique, the exhibition for Los Angeles has been especially reconsidered by the artist. Weiner describes his plans for the expansive 26,000 square-foot installation at The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA in Little Tokyo as both airy and dense, approaching the space as a “fairground.”

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.

Co-curator Ann Goldstein writes in the accompanying catalogue, “Weiner’s 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 different — each person will use the work differently and find a different relationship to its content.”

Through a practice based on the multiple possibilities that can exist between a receiver and his work, Weiner’s art has produced many points of cultural reception out in the world.

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 world — the 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’s practice expands into the world — from the spaces of the gallery to the streets of the city. For instance, Weiner’s 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.

A seven-program series of films and videos, titled Lawrence Weiner: The Complete Films and Videos, organized by Chrissie Iles, the Whitney’s Anne and Joel Ehrenkranz Curator, will be presented at MOCA Grand Avenue’s Ahmanson Auditorium, Thursdays, April 24-June 5, 2008 at 6:30 p.m.

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, and a special contribution by Alice Zimmerman.

The catalogue (412 pages; $60) is distributed by Yale University Press. The book is available through the MOCA and WMAA bookstores.

Lawrence Weiner, Por 5 Mismo Spain: Palacio de Cristal and MNCARS Library, Museo Nacional-Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid, 2001.