b. 1947, USA

Louise Lawler Biography

American artist Louise Lawler's practice critically points towards the institution of art and artmaking, creating photography that calls into question its own forms and contexts.

Read More

Early Years

Lawler was born in Bronxville, New York. She received her BFA from Cornell University in 1969. Lawler is a prominent figure in the Pictures Generation, a group of American artists that critically analysed media culture in the 1970s. Other figures of this movement include Cindy Sherman, Sherrie Levine, and Barbara Kruger.

In 1972, Lawler created Birdcalls, a sound work in which she spoke the names of famous male artists in the form of bird songs. This work, which served to mock the privilege and recognition given to male artists at the time, featured names such as Vito Acconci, Donald Judd, and Sol LeWitt.

Louise Lawler Artworks

Much of Louise Lawler's artistic practice has taken place within the realm of institutional critique, as she often uses her work to examine the context of artmaking, an artist's life and sphere of influence, as well as the operations of the art world.

Institutional Critique

In the early 1980s, Lawler began photographing other artists' works displayed in museums, private collections, storage spaces, and auction houses as a means to question the value of art. In 1984, she was given access to the home of collectors Burton and Emily Tremaine and took photographs of their collection. One of these photographs is Pollock and Tureen, Arranged by Mr. and Mrs. Burton Tremaine, Connecticut (1984), where Lawler puts focus on a decorated soup bowl that sits in front of a Jackson Pollock painting.

Does Andy Warhol Make You Cry? (1988) is a photograph of Andy Warhol's painting Round Marylin (1962), taken at a Christie's preview before it was sold at auction. Lawler installs this photograph true to scale, including the auction house's label.

In Fragment, Frame, Text "Reportedly He Worked As A Pastry Cook" (1989), Lawler zooms in on the exhibition text beside a Claude Lorrain painting. This photograph only shows a fragment of Lorrain's landscape, putting the text to the fore of the work.

Lawler titled her major 2004 survey at the Museum für Gegenwartskunst in Basel Lawler and others as an acknowledgement of the works and artists included in her photographs.

Scale

Lawler often revisits her photographs when they are re-exhibited by adjusting their size. For her 'Adjusted to Fit' series, she changes the scale and dimensions of the original image to fit the size requirements of its new location.

In 2014, Lawler's work Triangle (adjusted to fit) (2008/2009/2011) was shown on a billboard facing the High Line in New York City. The photograph was taken at Sotheby's New York and featured the work of conceptual minimalist artists Donald Judd, Sol Lewitt, and Frank Stella.

Exhibitions

Louise Lawler has been widely exhibited locally and internationally. She has held solo exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Museum for Gegenwartskunst, Basel; Portikus, Frankfurt; Dia Art Foundation, New York; and Museum Ludwig, Cologne. Her work has been included in group exhibitions at Museum moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien (MUMOK), Vienna; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; and Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston. Her work has been collected by institutions such as the Guggenheim Museum, New York; Tate, London; and Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.

Arianna Mercado | Ocula | 2022

Exhibition view:  Louise Lawler, NOT ENOUGH TO SEE, Sprüth Magers, New York (2 November–23 December 2022). Courtesy Sprüth Magers. 

Louise Lawler Featured Artworks

View All (43)
Three Flags (swiped and taken, drained), for the hall by Louise Lawler contemporary artwork photography
Louise Lawler Three Flags (swiped and taken, drained), for the hall, 2022 Gelatin silver print
5.7 x 10.2 cm
Sprüth Magers Enquire
Three Flags (swiped again, two) by Louise Lawler contemporary artwork photography
Louise Lawler Three Flags (swiped again, two), 2022 Dye sublimation print on museum box
121.9 x 216.7 cm
Sprüth Magers Enquire
Dots and Slices (traced and painted), Seventh by Louise Lawler contemporary artwork painting, works on paper, sculpture
Louise Lawler Dots and Slices (traced and painted), Seventh, 2006/2013/2021 Archival pigment print with gouache and silver media
103.8 x 86.7 cm
Marian Goodman Gallery Contact Gallery
Dots and Slices (traced and painted), Eighth by Louise Lawler contemporary artwork painting, works on paper, sculpture
Louise Lawler Dots and Slices (traced and painted), Eighth, 2006/2013/2021 Archival pigment print with gouache and silver media
92.7 x 75.6 cm
Marian Goodman Gallery Contact Gallery
Untitled (Second Night) by Louise Lawler contemporary artwork print
Louise Lawler Untitled (Second Night), 2021 Dye sublimation print on museum box
121.9 x 182.2 cm
Galerie Greta Meert Contact Gallery
Untitled (Night) by Louise Lawler contemporary artwork print
Louise Lawler Untitled (Night), 2021 Gelatin silver print
203 x 492 cm
Galerie Greta Meert Contact Gallery
Etude pour la Lecture, 1923, This Drawing is for Sale, Paris, by Louise Lawler contemporary artwork photography
Louise Lawler Etude pour la Lecture, 1923, This Drawing is for Sale, Paris,, 1985 Black and white photograph, mat with transfer type
39.4 x 58.4 cm
Sprüth Magers Enquire

Louise Lawler Current & Recent Exhibitions

View All (17)

Louise Lawler Represented By

Sprüth Magers contemporary art gallery in Berlin, Germany
Sprüth Magers Berlin, London, Los Angeles, New York

Louise Lawler In Ocula Magazine

View All (7)

In Ocula Advisory

Follow Louise Lawler
Stay ahead.
3 new artworks have recently been added.
Receive updates on new artworks,
exhibitions and articles.
Your personal data is held in accordance with our privacy policy.
Follow
Do you have an Ocula account?
Get Access
Join Ocula to request price and availability of artworks, exhibition checklists and build a collection of favourite artists, galleries and artworks.
Subscribe me to the Ocula newsletter.
I agree to Ocula's Terms & Conditions.
Your personal data is held in accordance with our Privacy Policy.
Do you have an Ocula account? Login
Thank you for joining us. Just one more thing...
Soon you will receive an email asking you to complete registration. If you do not receive it then you can check and edit the email address you entered.
Close
Thank you for joining us.
You can now request price and availability of artworks, exhibition checklists and build a collection of favourite artists, galleries and artworks.
Close
Welcome back to Ocula
Enter your email address and password below to login.
Login
Don't have an account? Sign Up
I forgot my password
Reset Password
Enter your email address to receive a password reset link.
Reset Link Sent
We have sent you an email containing a link to reset your password. Simply click the link and enter your new password to complete this process.
Login