Lawrence Weiner’s solo show Be That As It May opened yesterday at Lisson Gallery in London. Weiner, one of the great American conceptualists, uses language as his main medium. His texts –painted or attached in form of vinyl adhesives directly on walls or windows – are often ambiguous and open to interpretation, leaving space for multiple iterations of the same piece.

During yesterday’s opening Lawrence Weiner talked with Lisa Lefeuvre of the Henry Moore Institute about his work and about art education. The artist, never afraid to provoke, got definitely the attention of the art students within the audience with his statement that “art academies suck”. Rather than debate if this is true or false, it is more interesting to understand the rationale behind his statement. Weiner explains, that in his opinion, the role of an artist shouldn’t be confused with the one of a sociologist: an artist should ask questions about the world, not to analyse it and to offer possible solutions. This brings him to the conclusion that art is about an attitude rather than a set of skills. However, most art schools are build around acquiring skills, rather than helping student to develop a critical attitude.

To wrap up with Wiener’s own, wise, words : “Art is about what is. It offers building blocks to create a story about a world that makes sense in the mind of the artist.”

Here are some photos from the talk and the exhibition. Not to miss!

Also on view at Lisson (the other location across the street): solo show of Tony Cragg.

Might be of interest: Weiner’s recent interview in The Art Newspaper.