Critics’ Picks

Lawrence Weiner, 1 2 3, 2012, Faber-Castell pencil and ink-jet on pasted, folded archival paper, overall 39 1/2 x 31 1/2”.

Los Angeles

Lawrence Weiner

Regen Projects
6750 Santa Monica Blvd
October 28 - June 23

In a perfect loop of beginnings and endings, this exhibition by Lawrence Weiner marks the closing of the West Hollywood branch of Regen Projects, a space that opened in late 1989 (as the Stuart Regen Gallery) with a show by Weiner. By then, he had already been making language-based artworks for nearly two decades, and was in the process of transforming his early Minimal text pieces into colorful large-scale installations.

“AROUND & AROUND HIGH & LOW” physically centers on the titular piece, which is installed in the middle of the gallery’s floor. Its curved AROUND & AROUND portion intersects the straight line of HIGH & LOW, emphasizing the qualities of circularity and up-and-down motion that singly or together mark the works on view, which are all from 2012. UNDER THE TOP takes its proper place on a wall right under the ceiling; BROUGHT UP SHORT CARRIED OVER THE DISTANCE spans another wall. A vignette swirl connects/separates the two clauses in this piece, its camber echoing the interlocking bows of AROUND & AROUND HIGH & LOW.

This directional bifurcation of circular and upward/downward is most evident in 1 2 3—a suite of three drawings on folded archival paper installed in a tight stagger. The viewer, or “the receiver,” as the viewer was termed in Weiner’s breakthrough “Statement of Intent” from 1968, is guided from the bottom left drawing to the top right by a series of arrows that form a curvy upward line. Alongside the arrows, the up-and-down shifts of several uniform fonts along vertical axes suggest variations on the semantic content of the words in the drawings. Such simultaneity of the visual and the semantic is at the core of Weiner’s work. Of course, that part is hardly new—exactly a century ago the same device was used in Cubist painting and collage as well as Futurist typography. The innovation of “AROUND & AROUND HIGH & LOW” lies in Weiner’s reliance both on the receiver and on the specific environment, allowing for nearly infinite materializations of his word sculptures.