Louise Lawler’s work since the 1970s has considered the lives of artworks in museums, private collections, galleries, storage facilities, and auction houses. Her photographs examine how meaning is aggregated and ever-changing within the intersections of larger societal and cultural contexts. Lawler’s work emphasizes that all artworks—including her own—are restaged in the present. She often returns to her earlier photographs to reconsider and reframe her subjects and their presentation.
For the works now on view in Griffin Court, the artist returned to her 2004 photograph Andy in L. A., which shows an Andy Warhol self-portrait in a private collection in Los Angeles. She then rendered the image “adjusted to fit” and “distorted for the times.” Having stretched it to the format of the distinctive segmented walls of this space, and twisted and warped it to various extremes, she destabilizes our comprehension of the image, aligning her work with our present moment. In her titles and accompanying texts, Lawler unexpectedly draws attention to systems within and beyond the art world—in this case the political distortion of gerrymandering—making her work porous to wider interpretation, and further articulating its moment of reception by a viewer.
In Griffin Court, Lawler’s title is presented in the typeface Gerry, the creation of Chicago-based designers Ben Doessel and James Lee. Gerry transforms the extreme shapes of gerrymandered voting districts across the United States into a legible alphabet. More information can be found at uglygerry.com.