fb-pixel Skip to main content

Greenway, List Center tap Weiner for Dewey Square mural

Artist Lawrence Weiner at the Guggenheim Museum in New York in 2011.Cindy Ord/Getty Images/File

In a partnership that’s been long in the making, the Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy and the MIT List Visual Arts Center have commissioned a new mural at Dewey Square Park by the conceptual artist Lawrence Weiner.

The mural, a textual work titled “A Translation from One Language to Another,” is scheduled for installation Sept. 14-20. It will be the Greenway’s fourth temporary mural on the so-called Greenway Wall — the lynchpin in the Greenway’s effort to lure visitors to its ribbon of parkland through temporary exhibits of public art. The 70 by 76-foot mural, which covers one side of an air-intake building, will join recent temporary works by Brookline artist Janet Echelman and Korean-born artist Kyu Seok Oh.


“I’m looking forward to starting a new conversation about text-based artwork,” said Greenway curator for public art Lucas Cowan. “It’s going to make you think every day what it means.”

Weiner, whose 50-year career includes fellowships with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim, works in a variety of mediums — everything from video and radio broadcasts to artist’s books, large-scale murals, and installations. He is closely associated with the Conceptual Art movement of the 1960s, and examples of his work are in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, among others. Locally, Weiner created “Dead Center,” a 2008 installation that comprises three phrases carved into colored granite forms that are embedded in MIT’s Ashdown House dormitory’s courtyard.

“As Lawrence Weiner has said about his work, ‘you are dealing with [language] something completely infinite,’” MIT List Visual Arts Center director Paul C. Ha said in a prepared statement. “‘Language, because it is the most non-objective thing we have ever developed in this world, never stops.’”

Cowan added that he wanted the Dewey Square wall to present works that “really speak to the point of view of the institution we’re working with. Paul Ha was really brilliant to highlight Lawrence, because of his role in conceptual art and his influence today.”


Weiner’s mural will replace Shinique Smith’s “Seven Moon Junction,” which the Greenway commissioned through a partnership with the Museum of Fine Arts. The previous two murals, “The Giant of Boston” by Os Gemeos and Matthew Ritchie’s “Remanence: Salt and Light (Part II),” were commissioned in conjunction with the Institute of Contemporary Art.

The Greenway and MIT are scheduling several programs around the new mural, including an opening celebration on Sept. 24 and Weiner is expected to serve as a panelist at the MIT List Center’s Max Wasserman Forum on Contemporary Art in mid-November.

“We hope that the viewers in Boston take away their own individual reading of the mural after seeing it,” said Ha. The List Center, along with ArtPlace America and others, helped to fund the mural. “We also hope that viewers find the work poetic, a challenge, and that it inspires conversations between those who happen to meet on the green to view the artwork.”

Malcolm Gay can be reached at malcolm.gay@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter at @malcolmgay