Maritime Art Week – Lawrence Weiner, Navigating the Conceptual

There are some cool contemporary maritime influenced art projects currently on exhibit across the globe, so we’ve declared this Maritime Art Week on the Sea-Fever blog. Here’s the final and maybe most challenging and interesting installment of this series.

Lawrence Weiner was born in the Bronx, NY in 1942. Early in his life, Weiner had a variety of maritime jobs including working on an oil tanker and being a dock worker. In the early 1960’s he returned to New York where he began producing and exhibiting his art, the earliest of which included experiments with systematic approaches to shaped canvases. Weiner is considered one of the modern masters of conceptual art. Today he lives in New York and on a houseboat in Amsterdam. (Lawrence Weiner’s biography on the Guggenheim Museum’s website.)

In 2007, Weiner created an exhibit for the New Visions contemporary art program at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, England, titled Inherent in the Rhumb Line.

From the National Maritime Museum website:

The National Maritime Museum explores how human beings have sought meaning in the sea, time and the stars. At Greenwich the imponderables of time and space collide: this is the home of Longitude 0°, where one can stand on an arbitrary line marking out the starting point of each new day, year and millennium. Every place on the globe is measured east or west from this Prime Meridian, creating a framework for individuals to understand their place in the world. Lawrence Weiner’s artistic practice questions the subjectivities that create such constructs of understanding. Using observation and experiment, the artist interrogates the relationship of material objects to each other, and the relationship of material objects to individuals.

Like Simon Patterson, another Maritime Art Week artist as well as an New Vision’s artist, Weiner medium is often language and ideas.

Much of Lawrence Weiner’s artistic practice takes the form of language and his statements have been inscribed as text inside and outside the gallery, as well as taking the form of spoken words and printed matter. At the centre of this exhibition the words to a somewhat romantic song, Sailing Sailing, point elsewhere: songs, after all, are designed to be sung and heard, rather than read. Shown beside Weiner’s 2005 film Inherent in the Rhumb Line from which this exhibition takes its name, this song alludes to the freedom of the seas and navigating over the bounding main. As with traditional songs of the sea, Sailing Sailing has been handed down, passed around, reinterpreted and repeated, with each version as true as the next.

LW

Currently, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles is exhibiting a career retrospective of Weiner’s work which is titled AS FAR AS THE EYE CAN SEE. (through July 14, 2008 )

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MOCA Guide to Lawrence Weiner’s AS FAR AS THE EYE CAN SEE (download)

[YouTube=http://youtube.com/watch?v=vWZNoj4Uwd0]

Tate Online Events (Video Interview) – Lawrence Weiner talking art – February 2, 2008

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Peter A. Mello

Husband, father, son. Lifelong mariner, student of leadership, photographer. Professional creative placemaker.

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