Lee Lozano: Dropout Piece (AFTERALL)

Lee Lozano: Dropout Piece (AFTERALL)

Sarah Lehrer-Graiwer

Language: English

Pages: 120

ISBN: 1846381312

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


The artist Lee Lozano (1930--1999) began her career as a painter; her
work rapidly evolved from figuration to abstraction. In the late 1960s, she created
a major series of eleven monochromatic Wave paintings, her last
in the medium. Despite her achievements as a painter, Lozano is best known for two
acts of refusal, both of which she undertook as artworks: Untitled (General
Strike Piece)
, begun in 1969, in which she cut herself off from the
commercial art world for a time; and the so-called Boycott Piece,
which began in 1971 as a month-long experiment intended to improve communication but
became a permanent hiatus from speaking to or directly interacting with women. In
this book, Sarah Lehrer-Graiwer examines Lozano's Dropout Piece,
the culmination of her practice, her greatest experiment in art and endurance,
encompassing all her withdrawals, and ending only with her burial in an unmarked
grave.

And yet, although Dropout Piece is
among Lozano's most important works, it might not exist at all. There is no
conventional artwork to be exhibited, no performance event to be documented.
Lehrer-Graiwer views Dropout Piece as leveraging the artist's
entire practice and embodying her creative intelligence, her radicality, and her
intensity. Combining art history, analytical inquiry, and journalistic
investigation, Lehrer-Graiwer examines not only Lozano's act of dropping out but
also the evolution over time of Dropout Piece in the context of
the artist's practice in New York and her subsequent life in Dallas.

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and being part of the scene. The related, overlapping Withdrawal Piece (‘pull out of a show at Dick Bellamy’s to avoid hanging with work that brings you down’)81 began the same day. Could non-presence be recognised for all the aggression and refusal it contained? At the opposite extreme was Spend Every Night For 3 Weeks At Max’s – carried out back in January and February of 1967, its title was only recorded, perhaps retroactively, in August 1969.82 Dialogue Piece further redefined the terms of

Dead Boys, Johnny Cash, Robert Gordon and Bob Marley rotated on the record player. Intoxication and extremes still amplified the ‘thrownness of Being’. Characterising her goals as fundamentally haptic, she decided against recording these activities, these private experiences that occurred spontaneously. During this Stanton Street dictionary-dancing period, Lozano was invited to be in Documenta. It would have been Documenta 6, in 1977, curated by artistic director Manfred Schneckenburger. She

July 16, 1971', reproduced in Adam Szymczyk (ed.), Lee Lozano: Win First Dont Last Win Last Dont Care (exh. cat.), Basel: Schwabe AG, 2006, p.162. 13 NB1, 22 April 1968, p.27. The asterisk corresponds to the following addendum: ‘By coincidence I start this almost exactly a year later.’ 14 Verball was an alternate title for Dialogue Piece (1969), and is mentioned within Lozano's ‘write-up’ of that piece. See L. Lozano, Dialogue Piece, reproduced in A. Szymczyk (ed.), Lee Lozano, op. cit. p.150. 15

2006, p.145. 71 Martin Heidegger, Being and Time (trans. Joan Stambaugh), Albany: State University of New York Press, 2010, p.189: ‘Inclination and urge are possibilities rooted in the thrownness of Dasein.’ This idea of thrownness in relation to Dasein (being) is central to Heidegger’s text and appears in various formulations throughout. 72 Avital Ronell, Crack Wars: Literature, Addiction, Mania, Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2004, p.43. 73 NB6, c.14 February 1970, p.43. 74 L. Lozano,

York, remembers: Lee’s transformation began in her first year at AIC as she craved to become an artist, a painter in the romantic sense of that time. Somewhat of an intellectual snob, she quickly reoriented her focus to the ‘raw’ artistic talents surrounding her as her new conversational and friendship interest. Gradually she gave up her Brooks Brothers suits (worn in twin manner with her husband) and her stylised bowl haircut, and reappeared in cut-off sweatshirts to match her bohemian,

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