Lawrence Weiner (* 10. February 1942 in Bronx, New York; lives in Amsterdam and New York) is one of the central figures in the formation of conceptional art in the 1960s and is regarded as a founding figure of post-minimalistic conceptual art, like Sol LeWitt, Dennis Oppenheim and Joseph Kosuth.
In 1991, during the Vienna Festival (Wiener Festwochen) nach einem Projekt ein markanter Anti-Kriegs-Spruch ("Smashed to pieces in the still of the night"/"Zerschmettert in Stücke im Frieden der Nacht" both in German and English) am oberen Teil der Fassade angebracht.
Source: Wikipedia, 10.08.2009
The Art on the Flak Tower
"One of the most striking outdoor artwork has been renovated: The writting of Lawrence Weiner on the Flak Tower in Esterhazypark in Wien-Mariahilf has been reconstructed. Smashed to Pieces (In the Still of the Night) is written on one side of the bunker, the opposite side has the writing translated in German - Zerschmettert in Stücke, im Frieden der Nacht. The Flak Tower has a new interpretation due to this piece of artwork - from symbol of nationalism it became an anti-war and anti-fascism memorial", explained Vienna's cultural councilor Andreas Mailath-Pokorny by the presentation.
Source: Wiener Zeitung, www.basis-wien.at, 24. Juni 2005
In 1991 the Haus des Meeres was informed that the piece of art could be installed for the duration of the festival and then removed. The resumpiton in 2005 was not negotiated with us.
We believed that the "reinpretation of the building" from the "symbol of nationalism" to "HAUS DES MEERES" would take very long. Frequently repeated "Anti-war and anti-fascism memorial" has been taken into account and we created a permanent exhibition "ERINNERN IM INNERN", to raise awarness of the history of the flak tower. Not only the small museum in the former commando room shows it, but also the boards with pictures on the walls in the building.
Interview Lawrence Weiner November 28, 2012
Lawrence Weiner, born in the Bronx in 1942, is part of a generation of artists who changed the course of art history with their conceptually driven work. A sculptor who works with language...
Lawrence Weiner about to leave port in Reykjavik to jettisonCourtesy of Moved Pictures Archive, NYC
Viewers often imbue your work with very specific meaning that you might not have intended. SMASHED TO PIECES (IN THE STILL OF THE NIGHT) (1991), a large public work in Vienna, was interpreted by many there as referring to the events of Kristallnacht.
That piece had nothing to do with Kristallnacht. It was to do with the fact that listening to smashing bottles in a major city such as Vienna takes on a very different tone in the middle of the night. You make something because you like the green of a Jameson bottle of whisky, you put it out there, and somebody responds because they have this desperate need to understand their relationship to green for whatever reason. Either they were brutalised in Ireland or green was the colour of the eyes of the only person that they ever fell in love with. They can take what you’ve made and use it in their life to understand their place in the real world. All art should be this universal. Artists have a role in this society and it’s a real honest to goodness role. And that’s to take these universal things and place them out there and... be that as it may.
Text by Laura McLean-Ferris