Lawrence Weiner

Photo: Ken Adlard Courtesy of the artist and Lisson Gallery

And Larry makes three. Over the last month London has had the privilege of hosting new work from three of the father figures of contemporary art. Besides Ed Ruscha and Larry Clark, there was also Lawrence Weiner. Weiner’s exhibition took place at Lisson Gallery, and just ended last week. These guys have inspired generations of younger artists, by continually producing challenging new work over a 30 year career. Weiner’s exhibition came on the heels of his first American retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art.

This time Weiner focuses on emphasizing his command of the formal concerns of artistic presentation. Visually stunning in the use of vibrant hues, this exhibition also sharpens the sociological implications that have always been present in Weiner’s work. “FIRST MOVE, SECOND MOVE, THIRD MOVE”, suggests that the first move should be to circle the wagons, establishing a protected personal space. Only then, will we be prepared to go out and deal with societal structures. “OFFSIDES”, uses two vertical lines as a formal devise to bracket the text, while not confining it. Thought of in a social context, it establishes opposition. It can refer to expanding to new territories or taken negatively, being on the wrong side.

“FOUND BY CHANCE AFTER ANY GIVEN TIME FOUND ALONE AFTER ANY GIVEN TIME” The operative words here are, “Found” and “Alone”. Found refers to others, while alone stresses the individual. This highlighting of the personal should not be taken in the, “Me Generation”, sense of the word. Larry’s too much of an old hippie for that. Rather, he’s asking us to consider how our personal choices affect society.

Weiner began his career with the pioneering conceptual art dealer, Seth Siegelaub, later he worked for years with Leo Castelli. Currently he works in whatever contexts he finds interesting, while remaining fiercely loyal to those he respects. Demonstrating continuing curiosity, Weiner also has a super cool website, “HOMEPORT“, and all this at 66.

Lawerence Weiner, “OFFSIDES” Lisson Gallery, February 6, – March 15.