Thursday, March 30, 2017

Lee Lozano: "Private Book 1" (Karma)


Lee Lozano Private Book 1  (Karma)

I never heard of Lee Lozano till I picked up this little replica of one of the artist's notebooks.  I'm always intrigued by artist's notebooks - even more so by writers.  The sole reason is that an artist deal with the visual medium, and although time-to-time they can also write, it's the ones that need to express themselves in such a manner where the notes are unorganized and very much thought-in-progress.  After reading Lozano's notebook, I went to our bookstore (ARTBOOK) as well as another (Alias Books East) to look at her artwork.  As a friend mentioned lots of dicks, cunts, balls, and some abstract expression like drawings.  By the end of that day, I feel in love with Lee Lozano's art and scribblings (writings).

What becomes clear through her writing is that Lozano thinks conceptually.   Her conceptual pieces are straight to the point, and it has touches of a Fluxus flavor as well.  For instance:  "Win a grant.  Invest half of it on the stock market for six months.  Pat the rent and piss away the rest."  Or here is something called "Withdrawal Piece":  "Pull out of a show at Dick's.  "Hang" with work that brings me down (David Budd & Kuyama)."   Or observations such as "Every day thousands of pounds of paint are applied to buildings in NYC, signs, benches etc., which can only mean that the city is getting heavier and heavier."   There is also poetic observations such as "Smoking remains attractive because it is an excuse to make a little fire."



"Book 1" is a small memo lined notebook, and due to size it's very intimate, but also the writing/notes with her handwriting, is witty - and very personal.  "Abortionist John Adams" and then his phone number and a note that "Dr. Spencer's recommendation."  From one page to the next, it seems Lozano's brain didn't stop.  Her appreciation or acknowledging the drugs of that time and period (1968-1969) as well as her listening habits (Pink Floyd) and views on fellow artist friends such as Dan Graham, is a combination of horrific, charming, and such a great document of New York City art Soho life.  

This notebook is an art object, but a total readable experience due that Lozano has perfect handwriting (block letters) and enough pop culture references that run through the whole journal.  It's interesting to know that soon afterward she eventually stopped communicating with women.   At first, it was a "piece" but it became a lifetime activity on her part to separate the female from the male in her world.   Women she didn't associate with at all - and she only did business with men.   A very eccentric and of course, an incredible artist.


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