Lawrence Weiner, one of the central figures of Conceptual art, was born in 1942 in the Bronx, New York. After graduating from high school, Weiner had a variety of jobs—he worked on an oil tanker, on docks, and unloading railroad cars. He traveled throughout North America before returning to New York, where he exhibited at Seth Siegelaub Contemporary Art in 1964 and 1965. Weiner’s early work included experiments with systematic approaches to shaped canvases and later, featured squares cut out of carpeting or walls.
Like other Conceptual artists who gained international recognition in the late 1960s and early 1970s, Weiner investigated forms of display and distribution that challenge traditional assumptions about the nature of the art object. As the sole contribution to a presentation organized by Siegelaub in 1968, Weiner created a small book entitled Statements; since the work consisted of nothing but words, there was no reason to display a physical object. That same year, Weiner also contributed pages to Siegelaub’s Xeroxbook, a compendium of photocopies by seven Conceptually oriented artists.