“Without language, there is no art.”–Lawrence Weiner
Conceptual artist Lawrence Weiner began his career as a painter in 1960, but by 1967 he shifted to creating primarily text-based works. He believes that words, rather than images in paintings or sculptures, provide the viewer with a wide range of interpretations that are available to anyone, unlike traditional art objects inside museums. Weiner’s belief in this democratic power of words and the importance of inexpensive public distribution of art has also led him to design and produce many posters.
Many of his texts describe processes that could be associated with artistic practices. Bits & Pieces Put Together to Present a Semblance of a Whole could refer to brush strokes that make up a painting or clay that is assembled into a sculpture, among other interpretations. To make this piece, Weiner sketched out his idea for the text and sent it to the Walker Art Center’s Design Department. The artist then worked with the designers create to a typeface similar to his sketch. A metal-cutting factory in Iowa fabricated the letters, including the exact spacing of words that Weiner drew in the sketch, and the work was installed on the side of the Walker building by a local sign company. Although Weiner worked closely with the Walker designers during the construction of this artwork, he allows the “owner” of his works to determine the placement, material, and other aesthetic decisions specific to each installation site.