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Mixed MessagesAmerican Correspondences in Visual and Verbal Practices$
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Catherine Gander and Sarah Garland

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781784991500

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9781784991500.001.0001

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Forms of potential: reading Lawrence Weiner

Forms of potential: reading Lawrence Weiner

(p.145) 8 Forms of potential: reading Lawrence Weiner
Mixed Messages

Katie L. Price

Manchester University Press

Despite the fact that since 1968, American conceptual artist Lawrence Weiner’s primary medium has been language, he prefers to call his works sculptures rather than poems. Implying that his works are 3-dimensional. However, this is called into question when we consider Weiner’s “Statement of Intent” (1969), in which he asserts that his works need not be made by him, need not be authentic, indeed, need not be made at all. While this statement is most often used to link Weiner to Conceptual art’s emphasis of ideas over material objects, Price argues that Weiner’s works exist as forms of potential that require close attention to materiality and language. Weiner’s language sculptures—which take the form of statements, mathematical equations, artist books and more—exist somewhere in between art and literature, form and formlessness, the 2nd and 3rd dimensions. Weiner offers art historians and literary scholars a complex case study for thinking about how potentiality can be represented through form. Only by linking Weiner to the art and literary worlds, Price argues, can we fully understand Weiner’s forms of potential.

Keywords:   Lawrence Weiner, Potentiality, Oulipo, Extra-dimensionality, Language, Sculpture, Installation

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