Gallery number 188, the "Brancusi gallery"
This program of videos accompanies a new work made by the artist for the Philadelphia Museum of Art as part of the "Museum Studies" series. 1. To And Fro. Fro And To. And To and Fro. And Fro and To. 1972. 1 minute. In this and the following three early short videos, the artist demonstrates five possible actions that could constitute the works of art stated in the titles. In each case, the acts show examples of what could be but not necessarily should be the work of art in question. In the artist's words: "An artist may construct a work and/or a work may be fabricated and/or a work need not be built. I elected five possibilities for videotape." 2. Shifted From the Side. 1972. 1 minute.
3. Broken Off. 1971. 1:30 minutes.
4. Beached. 1970. 2:30 minutes. 5. Green As Well As Blue As Well As Red. 1975-1976. 18 minutes. Two performers enact simple actions while multiple soundtracks play: a dialogue between Lawrence Weiner and a partner/interrogator; a reading of the artist's works from the red book visible on the table; and a field recording of "Freiheit" from the Lincoln International Brigade during the Spanish Civil War. 6. For Example Decorated. 1977. 23 minutes. Three performers engage in an artworld talkshow. The layered multilingual soundtrack includes conversation, readings of the artist's texts, and singing. 7. There But For. 1980. 20 minutes. An improvised soap opera set within the defined boundaries of place (an apartment) and assigned roles of the players (nagging mother, oafish father, strange child, and their visitors). The music was also improvised live on the set as the actions unfolded. The artist makes a cameo appearance to prompt one of the players. 8. Niets Aan Verloren (Nothing To Lose). 1984. 22 minutes. This tape, in Dutch and English, is footage from a live performance in Holland. In it the players were continually enacting their tasks, although the roving focus of the camera lens here controls the viewer's perspective. The phrase in English occasionally repeated by the washerwoman is "Good manners spoil good food." 9. Quelques Choses. . . Lawrence Weiner, (interview). 1992. 24:30 minutes. An interview with the artist conducted by German curator Dieter Schwarz, made during Weiner's installation at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Bordeaux, France.
John B. Ravenal