An Arranged Deconstruction: The Feminist Art Practice of Louise Lawler
AuthorNiles, Krista Joy
AdvisorPalmer Albers, Kate
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThe purpose of this thesis is to examine the artistic production of photo artist Louise Lawler and the evolution of critical response to her work between the 1970s and 1990s. Of main concern are the manner in which early scholarship and exhibition reviews effectively situated Lawler's work within the discourse of institutional critique, a field of critical scholarship and artistic production that examines institutions of art such as museums and galleries. The objective of this thesis is to reexamine Lawler from a feminist art historical perspective using French feminist theory to investigate how her work can arguably be considered to be a feminist intervention into the patriarchal structures of museums, galleries, and connoisseurship. Lawler's dominant practice is photographic in nature, yet she does not consider herself a photographer. Like many artists of her generation Lawler has capitalized upon the indexical nature of the photographic medium, using it as a tool to create images that "document" art objects in situ. She has made her art in all the places in which artworks circulate or are displayed, be it the curated spaces of museums, an auction house or a private house, well-lit gallery show room walls or crowded and dark storage rooms. Throughout her forty-year career Lawler has worked to disrupt the patriarchy of the art world by drawing attention to philosophies of display and exhibition. She has shown us what is not on display within art systems by consistently showing us what is on display. She has refused to comply with systems or organization, crafting textual interventions that disrupt the linguistics of wall labels and titles of artworks. She has fragmented and dislocated the authorship of artists to their works, and she has appropriated curatorial practices to claim both the physical spaces of display and gain control of what objects are deemed valuable enough to be shown there. Lawler's work has consistently interrupted normative practices of art institutions, effectively disrupting the patriarchy inherent within the systems and structures to define art.
Degree ProgramGraduate College