Born and raised in the Bronx, New York, Lawrence Weiner
(American, b.1942) is a seminal contributor to the Conceptual Art movement of the 1960s. His first artworks involved interventions
(subversive pieces outside the art world which alter an existing work or space) on canvases, objects, and the environment, such as Cratering piece
(1961), in which he used explosives in four corners of an open field to create craters. In 1968, perhaps influenced by peers such as Sol LeWitt
(American, 1928–2007) and Ed Ruscha
(American, b.1937), Weiner realized that he could make interventions through language, rather than relying on physical construction. His work then consisted of brief phrases, usually painted on walls—not necessarily by the artist himself—either in galleries or as environmental installations. He still considered his works “sculptures,” and the materials described in the works his “media.” His tried to redefine the nature of an artwork by making the viewer's interaction with the piece crucial to its existence and influential to its interpretation. Weiner also produced books, films, and videos. In later decades he began to incorporate punctuation and color into his work, and in recent years began a series of digital works. Weiner has shown at many museums and institutions, such as The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C., and the Tate Gallery in London, and was the subject of a major retrospective at The Whitney Museum of American Art in 2007. He is the recipient of the John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, and the National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, among others. Weiner lives and works in New York.