In Memoriam: Lawrence Weiner (1942-2021)
News — 1 Dec 2021
Since the early 1970s, the artist split his time between New York and Amsterdam. He and his wife Alice lived aboard a houseboat, the Jorma, moored in the Westerdok.
Weiner’s work was prominently featured in numerous exhibitions at the Stedelijk over the years, starting with the 1969 exhibition Op Losse Schroeven. In 1988, the Stedelijk mounted a large-scale retrospective of his work and, in 2013/2014, the museum staged OP DE WIND GESCHREVEN / WRITTEN ON THE WIND, a comprehensive survey devoted to Weiner’s works on paper, which featured over 300 drawings.
Weiner’s work consists of “language + the materials referred to,” wherein language is considered as sculptural, in other words, as three-dimensional material. His work spans a broad range of forms, including text pieces and wall installations, books, videos, films and, certainly in the early period, sculptures, such as WHAT IS SET UPON THE TABLE SITS UPON THE TABLE.
Several text works by Lawrence Weiner are an abiding presence in the Stedelijk. In 2011, the work ESCALATED FROM TIME TO TIME (1973) was installed in the Zadelhoff Café. SCATTERED MATTER/BROUGHT TO A KNOWN DENSITY/WITH/THE WEIGHT OF THE WORLD/CUSPED (2007) – gifted to the collection by the Friends of the Stedelijk on the occasion of the museum’s grand reopening – has a permanent place in the Schiphol entrance. Finally, there is a bronze plaque with a text work by Lawrence Weiner on the outside wall of the museum next to the Paulus Potter entrance. The text refers to the relationship of human beings to objects and objects to objects in relation to human beings.