Louise Lawler’s work (born 1947, Bronxville, New York) has focused on the presentation and marketing of artwork. Much of this work consists of photographs of other peoples’ artwork and the context in which it is viewed. Examples of Lawler’s photographs include images of paintings hanging on the walls of a museum, paintings on the walls of an art collector’s opulent home, artwork in the process of being installed in a gallery, and sculpture in a gallery being viewed by spectators. Along with photography, she has created conceptual and installation art. Some of her works, such as the Book of Matches, are ephemeral and explore the passing of time, while others, such as Helms Amendment (963), are expressly political.
The work of Louise Lawler is presented in an ostensibly clear program, as work on the conditions, procedures, instances of presentation, framing and circulation of works of art. She photographs art and its spaces, but to disturb her skillfully channeled economy of attention span and attachment. Her photographs, her diversified interventions, are defined by defocusing the viewer’s attention on the works and drawing it to what surrounds them: an ensemble of set or supple relationships, both persistent and inconsistent, which, although unnoticed as such, in their opaque, elusive interactions, full of contingent contiguities, nevertheless point to specific types of authority and institutional power. The book gathers almost all the Tremaine Pictures produced between 1984 and 2007 representing works in the collection of Mr. and Mrs. Burton Tremaine.