Alligator

A work made of silver dye-bleach print; artist's proof, from an edition of five.
Courtesy of the Artist and Metro Pictures.

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  • A work made of silver dye-bleach print; artist's proof, from an edition of five.

Date:

1985

Artist:

Louise Lawler
American, born 1947

About this artwork

Since the early 1980s, Louise Lawler has photographed works of art installed in auction houses, corporate headquarters, galleries, museums, and private homes in order to demonstrate how an object’s display and contextualization can shape its meaning. The resulting images transcend pure documentation. Her appropriation of works in situ addresses the broader social and economic issues that structure modes of presentation. These early photographs, often displayed as a triptych, deal with the theme of monogramming and, by extension, personal vanity. Depicting a couch with a Lacoste emblem, Alligator draws our attention to the Donald Judd sculpture above it and the reflection of the artist in its surface. Untitled shows a Jasper Johns painting, visible through the clear glass of a vitrine that exhibits Robert Rauschenberg’s oddly titled Monogram (1955–59; Moderna Museet, Stockholm). Lastly, Monogram depicts Johns’s White Flag (1955; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York) hanging over a bed with a duvet lavishly embroidered with the owner’s initials. This sequence shows that Lawler is constantly making connections between various categories of signs, curatorial concerns of private collectors and museums, and the questions raised by redisplaying these pieces as the subject matter of “original” works of art.

Currently Off View

Contemporary Art

Artist

Louise Lawler

Title

Alligator

Origin

United States

Date

1985

Medium

Silver dye-bleach print; artist's proof, from an edition of five

Dimensions

98.4 x 64.8 cm (39 1/4 x 27 3/4 in.)

Credit Line

Through prior gift of Leo Guthman; through prior bequest of Marguerita S. Ritman

Reference Number

2006.171

Copyright

Courtesy of the Artist and Metro Pictures.

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email .

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