Monday, February 12, 2018

Lee Lozano

I’m in a Reading Group and for the next meeting we are reading Lee Lozano: Dropout Piece by Sarah Lehrer-Graiwer (Afterall Books). Everyone in art, and I guess possibly living life, should read this short tome (about 60ish pages). It’s out of print but if you are good at the internet you can download a PDF of it.

Lozano was a misfit, perhaps out of her mind in some ways, but her way of living life and her maniacal drive for rejection is impressive. Her most famous or, perhaps the most cumulatively famous works/pieces/actions, was her Dropout Piece, wherein she ‘dropped out’ of the art scene/art world/art-everything that she was deeply enmeshed in in 1960s NYC.

Anyone who is involved in the art world understands that desire. To bow out, jump ship, ghost or fade away from the grueling thing that is the ‘scene.’

The other night I went to a fashion show. It was cute, not my thing in some ways but I totally knew it was cool. Art people, fashion people, music people, the gang was all there. There is something silly about it all but you get why that type of event works. Glamour with detachment is always hip.

Anyways, as I was sitting there I felt this feeling I get when I’m in settings like this. This spectacle, this brand of life one lives is such farce but then I guess that’s better then nothing? Maybe? I’m not sure. It was all fine and quicker then a movie trailer but ya, being ‘scene-y’ feels somehow depleting.

The art world is perhaps not as bad as fashion. I hate art/fashion mixy-matchy, but it still is a drag as well.

But we need it.. Don’t we? Without this sense of ‘community’ what are we all doing all this for? All this is rhetorical, and I’m not sure how much I even care about the question, but alas, here we are. 2018. Still in the mire that is this hype beast of an art world.

Lozano’s pure ‘fuck it, bye’ attitude is nervy and sad at the same time. I will leave you now with the NY Times obit that gives a quick glance at this ravaging life. Smith is a bit revealing of her leanings regarding Lozano, but ya, take it as you will.

Read the book. Think about what it means to be a part of anything and ask ourselves; is that what we really want it to be like, feel like, look like and how/if we should participate in it.

Lee Lozano, 68, Conceptual Artist Who Boycotted Women for Years

Lee Lozano, an eccentric artist who pursued Conceptual Art and painting in the 1960's and then left the New York art world for self-imposed exile that included an embargo on contact with other women, died on Oct. 2 in the Dallas Health and Rehabilitation Center in Texas. She was 68 and lived in Dallas.
The cause was cervical cancer, said Mark Kramer, the artist's cousin.
Ms. Lozano was a quixotic, confounding rebel whose decadelong New York career seemed always to involve pushing one limit or another. Her early paintings, executed in an Expressionistic cartoon style, confronted issues of sexual and painterly decorum. They featured a robust messiness, distorted close-ups of the body, intimations of violence and suggestively exaggerated images of tools.
By 1967 she had taken the systemic approach of Minimalism, making nearly monochromatic ''Wave'' paintings based on wavelengths that pushed the limits of visual perception. In the mid-1960's she also began to execute a series of life-related actions (she didn't like the word performance) that tested, among other things, her stamina, her friends' patience and the conduct of everyday life. These works reflected her friendship with Conceptually inclined artists like Sol LeWitt, Hollis Frampton, Dan Graham and Carl Andre. They also reflected an increasing disenchantment with the art world that bordered on hostility.
Many of these pieces were proposed or recorded in written works that she considered drawings. Sometimes she designated everyday activities like thought, conversation or marijuana smoking as art, attracted by the idea that they were unsaleable and democratic. Her ''Throw-Up Piece'' proposed throwing the 10 most recent issues of Artforum, the leading magazine of contemporary art, in the air and letting them fall where they may. In ''Transistor Radio Piece'' she listened to a radio while attending a panel discussion on art.
In 1969 and 1970 Ms. Lozano began a steady withdrawal from the art world in works that she titled ''General Strike Piece'' and ''Dropout Piece.'' She decided to boycott women for a month or two as a means of improving communication with them. For unexplained reasons, she continued this piece to the end of her life, despite the great inconvenience and, one supposes, even greater rudeness.
Ms. Lozano was born Lee Knastner in Newark in 1930. She received a B.A. from the University of Chicago in 1951 and studied painting at the Art Institute of Chicago. A brief marriage in the late 1950's to an architect, Adrian Lozano, ended in divorce. She leaves no survivors.
Ms. Lozano had her first exhibition at the Bianchini Gallery in New York in 1966 and was then associated with the Green Gallery. In 1998 her work, long absent from the New York scene, returned when three SoHo galleries, Mitchell Algus, Rosen & Van Liere and Margarete Roeder, each showed a different phase of her painting. At the same time the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford exhibited her ''Wave'' paintings and notebooks. All the dealers and curators involved with these exhibitions were men.