Lee Lozano Slip, Slide, Splice
10 March – 3 June 2018
Lee Lozano was a major figure in the New York art scene of the 1960s and early 1970s, making furiously inventive, irreverent and often tiny paintings and drawings; vast, abstracted paintings that sometimes used tools as their starting point; and conceptual works which took the form of instructions: ‘investment piece: be the recipient of a grant. Invest half the money on the stock exchange and hold purchase for a minimum time period of six months’.
These works, called ‘language pieces’ by Lozano, culminated in General Strike Piece (‘gradually but determinedly avoid being present at official or public ‘uptown’ functions or gatherings related to the ‘artworld’’…) and then Dropout Piece which saw Lozano leave New York and the art scene entirely. Her radical approach to art and life, in particular her systematic refusal to engage with the institutions and support structures of the art world, led somewhat inevitably to her work being neglected and becoming much less well known over time. Recently, this has begun to change, and we are proud to make this contribution to the reassessment of Lozano’s work.
This exhibition brings together work from across Lozano’s career. A selection of small paintings from 1962 will be shown alongside a selection of drawings from the same time – metamorphic and mostly frankly rude. Four vast, abstracted paintings will be contextualised both by related drawings and previously unseen notes, instructions and lists. A restaging of Infofictions, the exhibition of language pieces she made in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1971, a few months before her exit from the artworld, completes the exhibition, drawing visitors into the world of Lozano’s innovative and uncompromising artistic imagination; the world of a supremely talented painter who in the end prioritised thinking over doing.
A new book will be published to accompany an exhibition. It includes a scholarly new essay on Lozano’s work by Helena Vilata and an introduction to it by Fruitmarket Gallery Director Fiona Bradley. It illustrates a substantial number of Lozano’s paintings and drawings, as well as her language pieces and the recently discovered notes and ephemera. We hope that it will serve both as an introduction to Lozano’s work for readers who have yet to come across her, and an opportunity to look and think again about the artist and her place in art history for those who know the work well.