Lawrence Weiner Is Out of Sight at the Pérez Art Museum Miami
The artist offers a manifesto for self-actualization.
“Spit into the wind and hope for the best.” It’s a message, written in both English and Spanish, on the floor of the Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM), in OUT OF SIGHT, a new work by conceptual artist Lawrence Weiner.
Installed on the floor of the museum’s lobby, the piece greets visitors like a giant hopscotch board—inspired by the French version, called a marelle—each square is filled with a message. The overall effect is a call to action, steps that one might take to move forward toward a goal.
The artwork is also currently on view at the Melbourne National Gallery of Victoria. “It’s a project that he would like to see propagated around the world,” said PAMM chief curator Tobias Ostrander to artnet News. In Miami, the work appears in two languages, translated into Spanish as a nod to the city’s majority Hispanic population.
“He’s kind of genius with language,” said Ostrander of Wiener, whose career stretches back to the 1960s. “Lawrence is really one of the great early conceptual artists, going beyond the object and engaging text as his art form, as sculpture, as installation.”
What that means, in a way, is that the viewer does half the work for Weiner, the written word conjuring up a vision in their mind. At PAMM, Weiner has provided instructions like “assume a position” and “ presume a destination,” ending on the optimistic message that “the destination is straight on/out of sight.” Ostrander described the work as “a mini manifesto about self-realization.”
Although the piece isn’t meant to offer any political commentary, it was conceived in response to the current political climate following the election of Donald Trump. Regardless of who one voted for, Ostrander noted, the work encourages us to “take a chance at envisioning a future that we want.”
“We could very much see this as a political tool for imagining an alternative political environment right now,” said Ostrander, adding that “it will mean something different in each location.”
Even without reading the words, the hopscotch-inspired design suggests forward movement—it’s a work of art that is also, quite literally, a game.
“It’s meant,” Ostrander added, “to be playful and critical and useful.”
“Lawrence Weiner: OUT OF SIGHT” is on view at the Pérez Art Museum Miami, 1103 Biscayne Boulevard, Miami, Florida, January 27–May 28, 2017.
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