Lee Lozano - Carte Blanche New York Sunday, November 7, 2010 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    The estate of the artist, New York

  • Exhibited

    New York, P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center, Lee Lozano, Drawnfrom Life: 1961-1971, January 22 – September 13, 2004; Basel, Kunsthalle, Lee Lozano. WIN FIRST DONT LAST/WINLAST DONT CARE, June 15 – August 27, 2006; Eindhoven,Van Abbemuseum, October 7, 2006 – January 7, 2007, p. 100 (illustrated); Los Angeles, MOCA The Museum of Contemporary Art, ‘WACK!Art and the Feminist Revolution, 1965 –1980, March 4 – July 16,2007; New York, P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center, February 17 –May 12, 2008, p. 119.
    Seattle Art Museum, Target Practice: Painting Under Attack1949 –1978, June 25 – September 13, 2009, p. 33 (illustrated);
    Stockholm, Moderna Museet, Lee Lozano Retrospective, February 13 – April 25, 2010, pp. 180–81 (illustrated)

  • Literature

    G. Schollhammer, Documenta 12 Magazine. Reader, Taschen Cologne No. 1 – 3, 2007, p. 219; Documenta /Museum Fridericianum, Kassel, Documenta 12 Magazine, Modernity?, Taschen Cologne, No. 1, 2007, p. 207

  • Catalogue Essay

    One of the most radical and elusive artists of the 1960s, Lee Lozano’s career burned short and bright, lasting from 1961 when she moved to New York until 1971 when she methodically staged her own exit from the art world. The recipient of a solo exhibition at the Whitney, and one of the only women to show at the legendary Green Gallery alongside such peers as Robert Morris and Dan Flavin, she was, according to Lucy Lippard, ‘the major female figure in New York in the ‘60s’ (L. Lippard, “Escape Attempts”, in Reconsidering the Object of Art: 1965-1975, Los Angeles 1995, p. 26) in terms of conceptual art. She died in 1999 and her fascinating career has since been the subject to an intensive re-evaluation that has seen solo shows at P.S. 1, New York (2004), Kunsthalle Basel (2006), Kunsthalle Wien (2006) and Moderna Museet, Stockholm (2010).
    Lozano’s imperative was to ‘seek the extremes,’ avowing that she would ‘participate only in a total revolution simultaneously personal and public.’ (from Lozano’s handwritten statement reproduced in Open Hearing (1969), the minutes of the Artworkers Coalition meeting). She saw art as a transformative process, rejecting any one direction for a dialectical approach that was at once conceptual and corporeal. The body of work that she left behind is stunning in its formal breadth and complexity, embracing figurative painting in creamy impasto, obscenely comic drawings, minimal abstraction and ‘Dialogue’ and ‘Language’ pieces. Despite their formal diversity, her works all share a radical idealism that progressed from an art that was hot and chaotic to a ‘dematerialized’ conceptualism that was intensely political. Her mission was to merge art and life together, images and ideas. No title, 1970 is one of the last physical artworks created by Lozano, made at  the same time as she was beginning her ‘Dialogue’ and ‘Language’ pieces which rejected matter for an art made entirely of ideas. The piece exemplifies her strategy of subtraction and negation as a means of creation. The canvas has been perforated at regular intervals in two overlaid, conflicting grids, revealing what lies beyond the canvas –its stretcher, shadows and the wall behind –so that this reality becomes the image. Unlike the ‘Tagli’ of Lucio Fontana, Lozano’s cuts are not gestural, but rather have been strictly implemented following a design devised using mathematical calculations and numerous preparatory drawings (fig 1). The resulting dynamic rhythm exceeds the plane of the canvas to encompass the space behind, creating a haptic experience whose continually shifting play of shadows and light is integral to the conception of the work.
    Crucially, the piece pushes from two into three dimensions, a distinction that the artist had come to consider to be ‘The biggest line of all.’ (C. Robins, ‘The Circle in Orbit’, in Art in America, vol. LVI, no. 6, New York, November-December 1968, pp. 62-69). In doing so, Lozano creates a heightened physicality precisely through lessening the material make-up of the artwork. No title’s cut-away geometries represent a logical conclusion to the force and single-mindedness of Lozano’s earlier works: the ‘Tool Paintings’ which she made in the mid-‘60s –monumental canvases depicting ‘masculine’ tools such as screws, wrenches and hammers hard with sexual innuendo; and the powerful, abstract paintings that grew out of them. These latter works used housepainters’ brushes and metallic pigment to create grooved surfaces which distilled the violence of the tools into palpable manifestations of matter and energy. In No title Lozano took this further, shifting from depiction into action and releasing the dramatic potential of their latent energy. Indeed, in comparative works such as Punch, Peek and Feel (1967-70), Big Circle (1969-70) and Stroke (1967-70) she actually revisited earlier paintings and perforated their canvases, conceptualizing them.
    No title represents an extreme outpost in Lozano’s use of painting, embodying her transition from an object-based practice to a ‘dematerialized’ art thoroughly merged with life. It pursues an intense physicality, an interrogation of matter so revolutionary and far-reaching that ultimately it led to her abandoning it altogether.


No title

Executed in 1970
Gesso, graphite on canvas with perforations.
42 1/4 x 62 x 1 1/2 in. (107.3 x 157.5 x 3.8 cm).

$400,000 - 600,000 

Sold for $602,500

Carte Blanche

8 November 2010  6pm
New York