Language

Anative New Yorker, self-taught artist Lawrence Weiner’s texts are all about making art engaging and broadly available.

Growing up in the South Bronx, Weiner wasn’t afforded a “middle-class perspective”

and gained his artistic acumen by reading the walls where others before him left their messages and marks. Weiner’s use of language as a medium presents a physical material for construction.

A torch bearer of the ’60s who led the movement to characterize art as language, his works appear in varied forms on the walls or windows of museums, public spaces,

and galleries, in audio and video recordings, lyrics, printed books, and any other imaginable iteration.

One can’t miss Weiner’s mural-sized text installation in the Dallas Cowboys Art Collection at AT&T Stadium titled Language + the Materials Referred to BROUGHT UP TO SPEED, calling to mind highlights of past Dallas Cowboys games and future plays.

For their inaugural booth at the 11th annual Dallas Art Fair, art heavyweight Lisson Gallery will exhibit Weiner’s work. Gene Jones (GJ): Your use of language invites us to become a part of the work as we read and interpret it.

How do you begin a new work? What is your editing process? Lawrence Weiner (LW): There is no process.

There is an enthusiasm for some material and that enthusiasm translates into a specific object concerning that material and it goes from there dependent upon its needs and the parameters afforded to it.

GJ: With BROUGHT UP TO SPEED (2009), the commissioned work in the Dallas Cowboys Art Collection at AT&T Stadium, youto pursue high production values in the books.

In other words: Present this art form with the same seriousness that other important art forms receive.

CB: Can you describe your father’s relationship with Max Anderson? Prior to our phone conversation, I hadn’t realized that they had known each other and worked together for so long.

PA: Max’s first position as a museum director was in Atlanta, at Emory University’s Michael C. Carlos Museum.

While he was there, the museum acquired my father’s African collection,

and Max learned about artists such as Thornton Dial and others, whose reputations were still in their early stages.

 He scheduled two major shows to run during the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta—a Dial exhibition and a huge survey of the field titled Souls Grown Deep:

African American Vernacular Art of the South (namesake of the books and foundation).

A few years later, when he was director of the Whitney, the museum included Thornton Dial in the 2000 Biennial.

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