Louise Lawler "A spot on the wall"

Louise Lawler "A spot on the wall"

de Appel, Nieuwe Spiegelstraat 10, Amsterdam
'The photographs and paperweights in this exhibition of Louise Lawler show art objects in their context; at the same time they are themselves works of art presented in an art institution. Lawler observes and comments on the social conventions that determine our ways of 'dealing with art'. The art world term for this is 'institutional critique' referring to a way of working that has been adopted by artists like Michael Asher, Daniel Buren and Hans Haacke since the early 70s. Lawler however is younger; she is a contemporary of Jenny Holzer, Sherrie Levine and Cindy Sherman and has a considerable influence in the art world since the mid-eighties. Not only photographers and journalists but installation artists and curators as well, have noticed the many subtle but poignant statements that Louise Lawler made about the 'presentational procedures' that are used to codify art objects to make them accessible to the public and which render the works the authority that they emanate. While she may turn her attention to a curator's mode of thought as expressed in a letter, a catalogue or a show, she is equally likely to look at the labels that Sotheby's attaches to works of art or to the design of invitation cards for openings. Her cool analysis of curator's layouts of their rooms and galleries and of the way public collections are presented have led to many professional organizers seeing 'a Lawler' in a museum or gallery presentation without the artist's work necessarily being included in it. Besides photography and paperweights Lawler has used various media that are part of the ancillary material that art institutions use to label and publicize works of art; these paraphernalia become the autonomous means for her art. One important aspect of Lawler's work is her titles, often consisting of long phrases, that add an extra dimension to her work and which are not always easy to interpret. Recently some critics have questioned her critical role, implying that she 'merely' relected the art world she portrayed, and was herself part of it rather than being its analyst. If her works, showing different aspects of the art world of the past twenty years, are reflections, then this exhibition can be thought of as a hall of mirrors. A hall of mirrors however is supposed to reflect the behavior of its visitors. Only a wide-angle lens exposes both the display system and its public.' (Invitation De Appel) Catalogue: Louise Lawler. A Spot on the Wall, Amsterdam 1998. De Appel & Kunstverein MΓΌnchen, Grazer Kunstverein, Oktagon Verlag. Text: Louise Lawler, Rosalind Krauss, Helmut Draxler and Claudia Jolles. Editing: Hedwig Saxenhuber & Edna van Duyn. German, English and Dutch insert. Design: Doris WΓΌrgert. ISBN 38 9611 041 1. € 16,-.
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