Lee Lozano
Lozano C. 1962
Texts By Helen Molesworth and Bob Nickas
Karma, New York, 2016
96 pages, hardcover
10 18 × 8 18 inches
Edition of 1,000


“Lee Lozano’s brief art career in New York, from 1961 to 1971, sometimes seems like a relay race: She moved deftly from gestural and hard-edge figuration to abstraction to task-based Conceptual pieces. By 1972, she had dropped out of the art world entirely. She then moved to Dallas and continued her 1971 conceptual work, in which she decided to ‘boycott women,’—i.e., not interact with them—for the rest of her life. Given her dizzying speed, it can be valuable to focus on a single year of her production. That’s just what LOZANO C. 1962 does, spotlighting thirty-one paintings, some as small as 31⁄4 × 23⁄4”. This handsome ninety-six-page clothbound book accompanied an electrifying exhibition last year at the Manhattan bookshop and gallery space Karma, where the brushy comic-tragic canvases, many depicting faces, penises, and airplanes, lined the walls. In the early ’60s Lozano was merging Surrealism with AbEx and art brut (she had moved to New York after attending the Art Institute of Chicago, which birthed the funny-freaky Monster Roster and Hairy Who). A recurring motif in these works are dick-like Pinocchio noses (‘man as pathological liar?’ asks Bob Nickas in his essay). In one piece, the long penis-nose of a grinning mask cleaves the mouth of another mask. It’s a subtle reminder that Lozano’s wry humor always had a razor-sharp edge. And this shrewdness was one way of surviving times as crazy as our own. As a page from one of her private notebooks here explains: ‘key to how to cope with the nixon danger: either kill it, which my intelligence absolutely refuses, or make a fool of it.’”—LAUREN O’NEILL-BUTLER, Bookforum, APR/MAY 2017