new-york

View of “Louise Lawler,” 2011. From left: Life Expectancy (adjusted to fit), 2010–11; Plexi (adjusted to fit), 2010–11.

Louise Lawler

Metro Pictures

View of “Louise Lawler,” 2011. From left: Life Expectancy (adjusted to fit), 2010–11; Plexi (adjusted to fit), 2010–11.

By photographing artworks in situ, wherever that situ may be—collector’s home, museum hall, warehouse—and framing her photos to include careful slices of the surrounding environment, Louise Lawler has made a practice of severing art from the aesthetic and intellectual lineages in which artist, critics, historians, and certainly the dealers and auctioneers who sell the stuff fondly like to place it, and tying it firmly instead to places, passages, and existential circumstances that arguably act on its meaning. In doing so, we often say, she has established a critique of the artwork’s status as a commodity. And so she has—not that there’s anything wrong with that! as Jerry Seinfeld might say if he wrote for October, but that critical focus shortchanges her as a visual artist.

This recent show was not a group of works but an installation—a show to be followed and

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