Lawrence Weiner, born in Bronx, New York, on February 10, 1942, is one of the central figures in the formation of conceptual art in the 1960s. Weiner is regarded as a founding figure of Postminimalism's Conceptual art, which includes artists like Douglas Huebler, Robert Barry, Joseph Kosuth, and Sol LeWitt. Although Weiner sees himself as a sculptor rather than a conceptualist, he is among the trailblazers of the 1960s to present art as language. He defines his sculptural medium simply as ''language + the material referred to'' in the sense that language is a material for construction.
Self-taught as an artist, his urgency to make art broadly available and engaging stems, he says, from his childhood in the South Bronx:
''I didn’t have the advantage of a middle-class perspective. Art was something else; art was the notations on the wall, or the messages left by other people. I grew up in a city where I had read the walls; I still read the walls. I love to put work of mine out on the walls and let people read it. Some will remember it and then somebody else comes along and puts something else over it. It becomes archaeology rather than history.'' (2013)
While Weiner's works exist only as language and can be displayed in any form, he is closely involved in manifestations, detailing the size of the font, the surface texture and placement of the paint or vinyl letters and often inventing new fonts. Texts appear on walls and windows of galleries and public spaces, as spoken word in audio recordings and video, printed books and posters, cast or carved objects, tattoos, graffiti, lyrics, online, ad infinitum.