December 3, 2011 – April 16, 2012
“The ultimate metaphor is a mirror. Or a pun! A mirror is perhaps as close as you can get to the idea of something being something else, yet different.” — Lee Lozano
The painter and conceptual artist Lee Lozano loved puns: “As I’ve been saying for years,” she noted, “The great puns are metaphor in its purest form.” A pun is a rhetorical device that exploits the flexibility of language, revealing the mutability of words. Lozano’s work similarly avoids easy categorization. As part of the New York City art scene in the 1960s, she espoused, “Give away all your ideas.” Just as soon as she began receiving recognition, she almost entirely withdrew from the art world. In 1973, Lozano left New York behind, along with her public career.
Pun Value, an intimate display of four works by Lozano, demonstrates the diversity of the artist’s interests throughout her short career. All of the included works feature suggestive verbs as titles: Ream, Stroke, and General Strike Piece. Two are paintings, one is a study for a painting, and another is an art-life piece—a conceptual practice involving tests the artist imposed on her daily life, recorded in a notebook, and transcribed for exhibition. As case studies, these four works reflect a kinetic network of ideas traveling across numerous media; they represent the best work of an artist who refused to be defined in any one way.
Pun Value: Four Works by Lee Lozano is guest curated by Katie Geha, Ph.D. candidate in art history, and presented by the Blanton Museum of Art in partnership with the Visual Arts Center, Department of Art & Art History, The University of Texas at Austin.