We were excited to hear about the Museum of Modern Art, New York’s 40-year retrospective of pictures generation artist Louise Lawler. Why Pictures Now (New York, April 30-July 30, 2017) will be the first New York career survey of Lawler, consisting of mural-scale “adjusted to fit” images set in relation to non-linear groups of photographs of collector’s homes, gallery installations and auction houses. It will be partnered with black and white wall-mounted tracings of Lawler’s images (more on those in a moment). The museum states that the assemblage will highlight the feminist and performative angles of her work.
The exhibition will also include her sound piece Birdcalls (1972/81) for which the artist turned the names of male artists into bird-like songs.
Since the 1970s Lawler (b. 1947) has been taking photographs of other artists’ work, with an eye on how they are presented in space, how they are placed, the methods used to get them there, and how they are viewed by spectators. Our Editor Garth Clark, for example, loves the way Lawler recontextualizes figures such as Picasso, calling her engagement with his sculpture “feminizing.” Lawler, a meta artist, is considered part of the pictures generation. She lives in Brooklyn.
Ahead of this career-spanning exhibition, we wanted to highlight some of Lawler’s encounters with contemporary ceramic art. We The pink images come to us from her exhibition at Museum Ludwig, Adjusted (Cologne, October 11, 2013 – January 26, 2014) in which Lawler was invited to work with the Museum’s permanent collection:
The exhibition comprises around 80 works, which are positioned throughout the entire building, thus engendering surprising situations through their encounters with the Museum Ludwig’s permanent collection. In addition, a new series of ten “tracings” has been created for the show—outline drawings that are reminiscent of children’s coloring books and draw on earlier works by Lawler. Furthermore, the artist has agreed to create two new, large-format “stretches” for the Museum Ludwig.
The show also featured a piece that is her view of an abstract work by Jackson Pollock, juxtaposed against a soup tureen.
Our next selection comes from Sprüth Magers, London: No Drones (London, July 2 – August 23, 2014). In their review of the exhibition, This Is Tomorrow said the show further explores the connection between photography and drawing. They state:
The standout piece, stretched across the longest wall, sees Lawler tease out and sketch the lace-like filigree of a decorative piece of porcelain which is shelved beneath a Jackson Pollock painting to visually quote her earlier and most famous photograph ‘Pollock and Tureen: Arranged By Mr. and Mrs. Burton Tremaine, Connecticut’ (1984). Tracing is above all a reductive process, and so Lawler transforms the iconic Pollock paint splatters to merely lines and blank spaces and so distilling the masterpiece to its uttermost core. Lawler then furthers the conversation between the two mediums by enlarging to photograph to well over four metres.
We’re looking forward to seeing more of her interventions with contemporary ceramic art in just a few short months!