A work of art is produced by many different things. It isn’t just the result of an unencumbered creative act. It’s always the case that what is allowed to be seen and understood is part of what produces the work. And art is always a collaboration with what came before and what comes after you… No work is really produced alone.
Louise Lawler is a contemporary Conceptual American artist. A prominent member of the Pictures Generation, she emerged alongside notable peers such as Cindy Sherman and Barbara Kruger in the 1980s. Born in 1947 in Bronxville, NY, she went on to receive a BFA from Cornell University and soon after moved to New York City where she initially worked for Castelli Gallery. Using photographs of art objects taken in collector’s homes, museums, auction houses, and storage facilities, Lawler’s work is interested in the intersection of art and commerce, interrogating the art market and the forces behind it. Along with photography, she has created conceptual and installation art. Some of her works are ephemeral and explore the passing of time, while others are expressly political. Lawler’s work, in its diverse manifestations (installations, events, publications, souvenirs…) addresses or confronts prevailing systems of establishing art, taste and style. She is, however, less interested in the original process of creating a work of art than in the context lying beyond the artist’s sphere of influence and in which the work is subsequently situated. Often framed as “appropriation art” or “institutional critique”, Lawler’s photographic work lays bare the day-to-day operations of the art world and its circulation and presentation of art works.
Lawler’s work can be found in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Guggenheim Museum, LACMA; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Art Institute of Chicago; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Tate Britain, London; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Israel Museum, Tel Aviv; Kunsthalle Hamburg; Moderna Museet, Stockholm; Museet for Samtidskunst, Oslo; Museum Boymans-van Beuningen, Rotterdam; and Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Connecticut.