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Acquired jointly with the National Galleries of Scotland through The d'Offay Donation with assistance from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Art Fund 2008
Lawrence Weiner (born in New York in 1942) is one of the founders of conceptual art, a movement that placed the emphasis on the conceptual and linguistic basis and formulation of a work of art, rather than on its execution. Mapplethorpe portrays him as a rugged intellectual with more than a streak of flamboyance - a silk scarf draped around his neck and tattooed star on his wrist - and love of his own rhetoric (note the open mouth, as if he had been caught in mid-flow). The diagonal lines of his arms create a parallelogram in the centre of the composition that acts as a base for the bearded head above.