This is an archive of the ArtCat Zine, 2007-2009. Please visit our new project, IDIOM.
Lawrence Weiner: The Complete Films and Videos
Anthology Film Archives – 32 Second Ave, New York NY
Various times, Wednesday 23 January – Tuesday 29 January
Beginning this Wednesday, the Whitney has partnered with the Anthology Film Archives to present an exhaustive Lawrence Weiner film and video retrospective, running parallel with AS FAR AS THE EYE CAN SEE, on view at the Whitney through 10 February. Weiner's engagement with both film and video since the 70s has produced a broad range and variety of work, reflecting the artist's continually novel approach to the medium in place of settling for a single style or working method. Weiner has produced short, conceptual video one-liners such as Broken Off (1970), in which we see five discreet scenes separated by dissolves in which the artist breaks or tears at various organic matter with his fingers, before finally pulling a live video wire that disrupts the tape; or Beached (1970), a short video shot in an outdoor location in which the artist again elects to do five simple acts in front of the camera. Weiner's practice later developed away from the ascetic rigor the these early black-and-white tapes into a more convivial working process, something that sets him apart from many producers of 1970s conceptual video. We often see sets in Weiner's videos populated be many colleagues and friends of the artists, playing roles or lending their voice to the soundtrack. Do You Believe in Water (1976), for instance, features a group of eight performers in a crowded scene talk to and try relating to one another in linguistic and physical exchange, a kind of improvisational theater driven by a language that resonates with Weiner's well-known wall texts. Done To (1974) consists of a simple still camera image of various figures sitting on a sofa while a dense soundtrack full of repetition and competing voices reminiscent of a William S. Burroughs cut-up experiment slowly develops. Weiner has also thus-far produced six feature length films, including the Nouvelle Vague inspired A First Quarter (1975) and A Second Quarter shot in mid-70s West Berlin.