Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
The Cricket
Sean P. Means
Sean is the movie critic and columnist for The Salt Lake Tribune. Follow him on Twitter @moviecricket.

» E-mail

» Subscribe (RSS)




UMFA’s new sculpture can be summed up in 11 words [video]

The Utah Museum of Fine Arts’ newest major acquisition is now on the walls — and it’s different than what museumgoers might be used to seeing.

The work is a piece of language sculpture by Lawrence Weiner, who’s considered one of the founders of the Conceptual art movement.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

The 1976 sculpture, "BENT TO A STRAIGHT AND NARROW AT A POINT OF PASSAGE," consists of that enigmatic title rendered in large blue cut-vinyl capital letters over three walls of UMFA’s otherwise empty main first-floor gallery, the G.W. Anderson Family Great Hall. It will be on display there now through mid-2014.

As Whitney Tassie, curator of modern and contemporary art for UMFA, explains on a YouTube video showing the work’s recent installation, Conceptual art elevates the idea or content of an artwork over the object itself.

Tassie quotes Weiner’s 1968 "Statement of Intent," in which he argued that the essence of an artwork is textual, and that the work can exist without ever being physically constructed. According to Weiner’s three-step statement, "(1) The artist may construct the piece. (2) The piece may be fabricated. (3) The piece need not be built. Each being equal and consistent with the intent of the artist, the decision as to condition rests with the receiver upon the occasion of receivership."

Following that third point, Tassie said, the phrase can be displayed in various ways, even "sung by a chorus or scribbled on a napkin."

The only restriction, on Weiner’s orders, is that the words must be presented in all capital letters. "Weiner doesn’t want to give any letters or words more emphasis or importance—that would be too authoritative," Tassie said in a statement.

"BENT TO A STRAIGHT AND NARROW AT A POINT OF PASSAGE" was created in 1976, and displayed in Europe — most notably at a major Weiner retrospective in Bern, Switzerland, in 1983 — but this is the first time it’s been displayed in the United States.

UMFA bought the work in 2011 with funds from the Phyllis Cannon Wattis Endowment for Twentieth Century Art.



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
 
Jobs
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.