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Minor Canon

Lawrence Weiner Statement of Intent tote bag (black)

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Lawrence Weiner (1942 – 2021) was an American conceptual artist. He was one of the central figures in the formation of conceptual art in the 1960s, whose work often took the form of words and text.

In 1968, Weiner wrote a now-famous declaration of intent that was to become a foundational document of conceptual art:

“The artist may construct the piece.

The piece may be fabricated.

The piece need 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.”

This manifesto was published in his first book, Statements, and shifted the responsibility of the work’s realization onto the viewer, transforming the traditional artist-viewer relationship. The book consisted only of verbal descriptions of sculptures’ materials and their relationships to space and structure. Weiner realized, after students cut down a sculpture that he made at Windham College in Vermont, that his pieces could be less obtrusive and that viewers could experience the same effect by reading a description of the work. This led him to the conclusion that a work could exist in the world without being physically constructed.

“I began to realise that if I could determine sculpture by the use of language it would allow itself to move from culture to culture,” said the sculptor in a video interview with Jesper Bundgaard for Louisiana Museum of Modern Art. “And the work has no metaphor and in having no metaphor it leaves it open for people to use the work to make a metaphor to suit their needs and their desires. It seemed to me an amenable way of placing my work in the world.”

Since his first book was published, Weiner has evolved from simply describing the materials and physical processes of works to taking fragments of conversations and poems to create his sculptures. Since his works exist only as words, they can take on many different manifestations, can be displayed in multiple ways and in every language.

He’s sited his work on walls, windows, floors, and manhole covers of public spaces; as audio, video recordings and as printed books; as posters, graffiti and even tattoos.

• 100% certified organic cotton 3/1 twill
• Fabric weight: 8 oz/yd² (272 g/m²)
• Dimensions: 16″ × 14 ½″ × 5″ (40.6 cm × 35.6 cm × 12.7 cm)
• Weight limit: 30 lbs (13.6 kg)
• 1″ (2.5 cm) wide dual straps, 24.5″ (62.2 cm) length
• Open main compartment
• Blank product components sourced from Vietnam