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

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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On 24 April, the piece reached its climax by revealing to her what direction to go in next: ‘decided on next piece: go without grass for the same amount of time’.62 No-Grass Piece commenced immediately afterwards, on 4 May 1969, as a way to deliberately shock her system by attempting, not entirely successfully, to abstain from marijuana for 33 days. Both pieces include her written observations (diaristic or scientific, depending on how you read them). During Grass Piece, her drug tolerance

baby / Is it over now? / She's a mixed up, shook up girl / Got me so strung out / I don't know what to do.’ As Morehead describes it, Lozano’s mid-1970s work was primarily concerned with movement and the study of posture, stance, alignment and body language. She choreographed walking into stalking, going out on the prowl and carrying a transistor radio in her jacket pocket, tuned into WNEW or WLIB. Exaggerating lightness and gravity, Lozano calibrated the pressures of her own highly regulated

NB2, 22 June 1969, p.82. 16 Phone conversation with Billy Bryant Copley, 17 September 2007. 17 NB8, March 1970, p.17. 18 L. Lozano, Untitled (1970), reproduced in A. Szymczyk (ed.), Lee Lozano, op. cit., p.208. 19 NB8, 5 April 1970, p.114. Lozano actually re-outlines POUT, and underlines it specifically. See fig.1 in this book. 20 NB2, 4 June 1969, p.68. 21 NB4, 1 October 1969, pp.47–47a 22 L. Lozano, Throwing Up Piece, reproduced in A. Szymczyk (ed.), Lee Lozano, op. cit., p.129. 23

106 Helen Molesworth, ‘Tune In, Turn On, Drop Out: The Rejection of Lee Lozano’, in A. Szymczyk (ed.), Lee Lozano, op. cit., p.135. 107 NB8, 4 April 1970, p.110. 108 M. Duchamp in Pierre Cabanne, Dialogues with Marcel Duchamp, New York: Da Capo Press, 1971, p.98. 109 L. Lozano, ‘Lecture presented at NSCAD, Halifax, 16 July 1971', reprinted in A. Szymczyk (ed.), Lee Lozano, op. cit., p.162. 110 NB8, c.8 April 1970, p.136. Lozano underlined these words twice for emphasis. And a month earlier, she

developed. Her footnotes were sometimes colour-coded, adding bright coloured-pencil and pen accents to otherwise black-on-white drawings, and she noted her intention, at one point, to ‘continue with the idea of making the write-ups more and more like drawings’.24 She only made ‘write-ups’ for exhibition or publication purposes, while asserting her prerogative to write one up any time there was an occasion to show ‘privately’, distributing a piece as a gift to friends usually in the form of a

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