los-angeles

Lawrence Weiner

Regen Projects

In black sans serif on silver Mylar the words “PURE AIR OF THE HIGH MOUNTAINS” and “BURNT RUBBER” appear across the packaging for the perfume Odeur 53, in French and English, along with an invitation to “CREATE AROUND YOU THE SMELL THAT YOU LIKE.” With graphic design by Marc Atlan for Comme des Garçons, the antiseptic aesthetic of the product, from its austere gray box with prominent bar code to the empirical bluntness of the chunky rectangular bottle and talcum-powder-with-a-frisson-of-nail-polish-remover scent, succeeds by finding within the “undesigned,” indexical, informational look of Conceptualism all the constituents for a new chic. I begin with Odeur 53 not only to suggest Lawrence Weiner’s lasting effects on current graphic design, or to bring up my favorite objet du jour, but because to do so begins to get at the crux of the debate around his project. Years past the heyday of

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