Lawrence Weiner

Lawrence Weiner: The Other Side of a Cul-de-sac


A pivotal figure in the history of Conceptual art, Lawrence Weiner debuts a new installation of text-based works in THE OTHER SIDE OF A CUL-DE-SAC this spring at The Power Plant.

Curated by Gregory Burke

A pivotal figure in the history of Conceptual art, Lawrence Weiner debuts a new installation of text-based works in THE OTHER SIDE OF A CUL-DE-SAC this spring at The Power Plant. The exhibition follows Weiner’s extensive, in-depth retrospective AS FAR AS THE EYE CAN SEE, co-organized by the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.
 
In 1968, Lawrence Weiner famously stated in his "Declaration of Intent" that: “(1) The artist may construct the piece. (2) The piece may be fabricated. (3) The piece may 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.]” Visitors to THE OTHER SIDE OF A CUL-DE-SAC may interpret the presented words and phrases in the multiple ways that relate to Weiner’s declaration. The works rely on language as a sculptural material to indicate the relationship between people and objects. Weiner’s works are not reliant upon singular metaphors for meaning, therefore, the viewer cannot help but interpret the work from their own point of view.
 
THE OTHER SIDE OF A CUL-DE-SAC is comprised of five works that function here as fragments of a whole. The lobby of The Power Plant creates the entrance to the exhibition with Weiner’s FOR BETTER OR FOR WORSE (2001). Its attendant multifarious meanings lead into to the largest gallery of The Power Plant, which contains MORE THAN ENOUGH (1998). This alchemical work culminates, or explodes if you will, into the fragment MORE THAN ENOUGH, a work commissioned expressly for the smokestack of The Power Plant. CUL-DE-SAC (2009), the newest work and produced expressly for the exhibition, responds to a culmination of sorts on the forty-foot-high walls of the clerestory of The Power Plant.
 
His most significant exhibition of new work in Toronto to date, THE OTHER SIDE OF A CUL-DE-SAC builds upon Weiner’s long-term relationship with the city. This enduring relationship began in earnest in 1977 with an engagement at the Centre for Experimental Art and Communication (CEAC), where he created one of his earliest soundwork installations, STRIKE WHILE THE IRON IS HOT. He also made projects with Art Metropole, and exhibited at numerous Toronto galleries including the David Bellman Gallery, the Art Gallery of Ontario and the Ydessa Hendeles Art Foundation.
 
A 48-page hardcover publication to accompany the exhibition has been co-designed by Lawrence Weiner and Hahn Studio, Toronto. The book documents the exhibition and features texts on the work by exhibition curator and director of The Power Plant, Gregory Burke, as well as New Zealand critic and poet Dr. Wystan Curnow.
 
Lawrence Weiner attended New York City public schools before traveling throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico during the late 1950s and early 1960s. By 1962 he was back in New York from San Francisco, and a working artist. In addition to his 2007 retrospective exhibition at the Whitney Museum and MCA, Los Angeles, other recent major exhibitions include Deutsche Guggenheim, Berlin (2000), Museo Tamayo Arte Contemporáneo, Mexico City (2004), and Tate Modern, London (2006). Weiner divides his time between his home in New York City and his boat in Amsterdam.

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