A major exhibition on the 40-year career of the Pictures Generation pioneer, whose work engages conceptualism and institutional critique
Published in conjunction with the exhibition Louise Lawler: WHY PICTURES NOW, at The Museum of Modern Art, this volume charts the creative practice of one of the most influential artists working in the fields of picture-making and institutional critique. For the past 40 years, Louise Lawler has raised questions about art―about the circumstances that produce it, its circulation and the societal frameworks in which it appears. Many of the ideas that arise out of her work relate to theories of reception, the belief that the meaning of an artwork shifts and morphs depending on who looks at it and where it is seen. As the title of this publication suggests, many kinds of reception are possible.
In the eight essays in Receptions, renowned cultural thinkers unpack Lawler’s witty and provocative art, while a generous plate section comprehensively documents her images, installations and films. A selection of the ephemera she has designed, ranging from gallery announcements and posters to magazine covers and matchbooks, reflects her interest in how art reaches viewers beyond the museum and gallery system. The design of the book’s jacket is a typically ingenious Lawler production: when turned inside out, it becomes what she calls an “adjusted to fit” work―one of her photographs reformatted to fill the space available.
In our contemporary atmosphere of political theater, shocking wealth disparity and commodity culture, the insight, resistance and sly commentary of Lawler’s work feels as poignant and corrective as it has ever been. This book is an indispensable resource for anyone interested in late-20th- and early 21st-century art.