Louise Lawler photographs not simply motifs, but connections, relationships, references. The America photographer acquires entirely new facets from objects and artworks by incorporating their natural environment into her artistic work.(...) Continue reading
Louise Lawler – Context becomes artwork in Appropriation Art
Louise Lawler was born in Bronxville in the US state of New York in 1947. She graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Cornell University in 1969 and immediately afterwards moved to Manhattan where she found a job with the Italian gallerist Leo Castelli – an immensely important step as Castelli was considered one of the most important art addresses in the city at that time. During her time there, she met Janelle Reiring for the first time, who would later go on to found the Metro Pictures Gallery with Helene Winer. Lawler exhibited often in the gallery in the 1980s alongside other artists such as Mike Kelley, Martin Kippenberger, Tony Oursler and Walter Robinson. In the early years, Lawler certainly created her own pictures, prints and photographs. It was not with these pieces that she sought publicity, however, but channeled instead the idea of Appropriation Art – a modus which is not afraid of setting works by other artists into a new context and actually creating a new work of art from this.
Questioning and overcoming modernism
Louise Lawler is an artist of the Pictures Generation, whose members broke with the great art ideal of modernism, that of the idea of a completely autonomous artwork. Instead, they emphasized the context that had always been in art but had been constantly suppressed and ignored by the lofty creator cult of bygone days. Although the artists involved never formed a real group, they were united by their consistent rejection of modernism. When Louise Lawler shows interest in great art, then mostly only to demystify a connection with its environment. Her photographs are not about an exact documentation of the underlying motif, but about the unique atmosphere that feeds from its relationship with the associated environment. Lawler does not simply copy her models, she interprets that, extracting new levels of interpretation and directing the viewer’s gaze in new directions. In doing so, she can present an antique artwork quite profanely in its depository between boxes and bare walls.
The international art market celebrates its critic
Louise Lawler held her first comprehensive retrospective in Germany: In 2013/14, the Museum Ludwig in Cologne showed a broad selection of her work under the title Adjusted, and in doing so played the whole building. In 2019, the artist was made a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Despite all awards as well as the fact that she has long been seen as a star in her homeland, the USA, Lawler avoids the marketing machinery of art business – accepting, with this, financial loss. She keeps her biography meticulously under wraps, and happily answers annoying requests for a portrait with a picture of a parrot.
Louise Lawler lives and works today primarily in New York.
Louise Lawler - Works that have already been sold at Kunsthaus Lempertz: