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Lawrence Weiner: NO TREE NO BRANCH

March 1, 2012 - June 30, 2012


Lawrence Weiner was one of the original conceptual artists who emerged during the 1960s. His art is based on the premise that the idea of a work is more important than its physical reality. Weiner's texts, usually painted or applied directly on the wall, offer alternatives to depiction: they represent physical situations or philosophical concepts. Over the past thirty years he has sometimes turned to ethical concerns as well.

Combining wall texts with abstracted icons, NO TREE NO BRANCH began with the Yiddish saying, “Ale yevonim habn eyn ponim”—all Greeks (i.e., non-Jews) have the same face. This phrase, inherently isolationist and mistrustful of the “Other,” gained currency during the antisemitic upheavals of nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Europe. By tweaking the text to read “All the Stars in the Sky Have the Same Face” and by translating it simultaneously into English, Hebrew, and Arabic, Weiner transforms its meaning into a humanist statement. The branch form that punctuates the texts can be read as a plain, unambiguous shape (Weiner uses the word “fact”). Yet it also bears deep symbolic meanings—the olive branch of peace, the tree of life. The artist considers this work as his “contribution to the dialogue.”

Lawrence Weiner (American, b. 1942)
Self-adhesive vinyl
79 5/8 x 78 1/2 in. (202.2 x 199.4 cm)
Courtesy of Marian Goodman Gallery, New York
Above: Installation photo by Bradford Robotham

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The Jewish Museum - 5th Avenue
1109 5th Ave at 92nd St
New York NY 10128