In this intriguing exhibition, Lawler gave her own work over to another artist to appropriate. The show consisted of a 2013 series, originally exhibited at the Museum Ludwig in Cologne, of black-and-white tracings of Lawler’s best-known photographs. The tracings —made by Jon Buller, a children’s-book author—were turned into digital files and printed on adhesive vinyl panels of various sizes. They looked something like blown-up pages of a coloring book.
As with Lawler’s originals, these images ask us how we see a marble sculpture of Aphrodite in a museum’s storage area, a Lucio Fontana canvas overshadowed by a crystal chandelier, or a date painting by On Kawara hanging over a table set with candles in the dining room of a private home. At the same time, by reducing Lawler’s photographs to simple contour drawings, this series becomes a wonderfully shrewd commentary on art-world consumerism and the value of both the blue-chip works depicted and Lawler’s own art.
A version of this story originally appeared in the Summer 2014 issue of ARTnews on page 107.