Helen Molesworth

Helen Molesworth is Chief Curator at the Institute for Contemporary Art, Boston. She edited Louise Lawler's Twice Untitled and Other Pictures (looking back), published by the Wexner Center for the Arts and distributed by the MIT Press.

  • Louise Lawler

    Louise Lawler

    Helen Molesworth

    Essays and interviews that examine the work of an artist whose witty, poignant, and trenchant photographs investigate the life cycle of art objects.

    Louise Lawler has devoted her art practice to investigating the life cycle of art objects. Her photographs depict art in the collector's home, the museum, the auction house, and the commercial gallery, on loading docks, and in storage closets. Her work offers a sustained meditation on the strategies of display that shape art's reception and distribution. The cumulative effect of Lawler's photographs is a silent insistence that context is the primary shaper of art's meaning. Informed by feminism and institutional critique, Lawler's witty, poignant, and trenchant photos frequently pay attention to a host of overlooked details—almost Freudian slips—that ineffably and tacitly shore up what we conventionally think of as art's “power.”

    This book includes the earliest published text on Lawler's work; an examination of her ephemera (Lawler produced, among other things, matchbooks and paperweights); a rare interview with the artist, conducted by Douglas Crimp; a conversation between George Baker and Andrea Fraser on Lawler's work; and essays by writers including Rosalind Krauss, Rosalyn Deutsche, and Helen Molesworth, the volume's editor. The book traces the changing reception of Lawler's work from early preoccupations with appropriation to later discussions of affect.

    • Hardcover $35.00 £24.95
    • Paperback $24.95 £20.00
  • Twice Untitled and Other Pictures (looking back)

    Twice Untitled and Other Pictures (looking back)

    Louise Lawler and Helen Molesworth

    Works by one of the most important artists working in America today—photographs, collaborative projects, ephemeral objects, and trenchant and witty institutional critique.

    For the past two decades Louise Lawler has been taking photographs of art in situ, from small poignant black-and-white images of art in people's homes to large format glossy color pictures of art in museums and in auction houses. In addition she has produced a variety of objects—paperweights, etched drinking glasses, matchbooks, gallery announcements—all of which cleverly describe how art comes to accrue value as it moves through various systems of exchange. Lawler's oeuvre was essential in creating an expanded field for photography, it was crucial in postmodern debates over theories of representation, it remains indelible within the field of institutional critique, and it has always been trenchant and witty in its sustained commitment to a feminist vision of art, art history, and contemporary art practice. But Lawler is also an old-fashioned "artist's artist," long overdue for the kind of serious reconsideration and recognition that this volume affords. The very self-effacing nature of Lawler's practice, however, her continual suspicion about notions of authorship—and her sly disregard for museological conventions—have meant that she has resisted precisely the usual mid-career retrospective. Twice Untitled and Other Pictures, published in conjunction with Lawler's first major museum exhibition in the United States, organized by the Wexner Center for the Arts, eats away at the standard museum practices of chronology, linear development, and the presentation of masterpieces, opting instead to explore such dynamic themes and undercurrents in Lawler's practice as her relationship to sculpture, her long history of collaborative projects, her production of such ephemera as napkins, matchbooks, and announcement cards, and the steady political dimension of her work—which culminated most recently in works that are deeply critical of the American invasion of Iraq. With essays by art historian and political theorist Rosalyn Deutsche and curators Ann Goldstein and Helen Molesworth, Twice Untitled and Other Pictures promises to be an essential volume for anyone interested in late twentieth- and early twenty-first- century art.

    • Paperback $37.95 £30.00

Contributor

  • Mary Kelly

    Mary Kelly

    Mignon Nixon

    Essays and interviews that span Mary Kelly's career highlight the artist's sustained engagement with feminism and feminist history.

    When Mary Kelly's best-known work, Post-Partum Document (1973–1979), was shown at the Institute of Contemporary Art in London in 1976, it caused a sensation—an unexpected response to an intellectually demanding and aesthetically restrained installation of conceptual art. The reception signaled resistance to the work's interrogation of feminine identity and the cultural mythologizing of motherhood. This volume of essays and interviews begins with this foundational work, offering an early statement by the artist, a subsequent interview, and an essay situating the work within a broader broader discourse of art and social purpose in the early 1970s. Throughout, the collection addresses such themes as labor, war, trauma, and the politics of care, while emphasizing the artist's sustained engagement with histories of feminism and generations of feminists.

    The contributions also consider such specific works as Kelly's Interim (1984–1989), the subject of a special issue of October; Gloria Patri (1992), an installation conceived in response to the first Gulf War; The Ballad of Kastriot Rexhepi (2001), an extensive project including a 200-foot narrative executed in the medium of compressed lint and the performance of a musical score by Michael Nyman; and two recent works, Love Songs (2005-2007), which explores the role of memory in feminist politics, and Mimus (2012), a triptych that parodies the House Un-American Activities Committee's 1962 investigation of the pacifist group, Women Strike for Peace.

    Essays and Interviews by Parveen Adams, Emily Apter, Rosalyn Deutsche, Hal Foster, Margaret Iversen, Mary Kelly, Helen Molesworth, Laura Mulvey, Mignon Nixon, Griselda Pollock, Paul Smith

    • Hardcover $45.00 £35.00
    • Paperback $24.95 £20.00
  • The Everyday

    The Everyday

    Stephen Johnstone

    Writings on the “turn to the ordinary” in contemporary art examine the various ways artists have engaged with the everyday since 1945.

    Numerous international exhibitions and biennials have borne witness to the range of contemporary art engaged with the everyday and its antecedents in the work of Surrealists, Situationists, the Fluxus group, and conceptual and feminist artists of the 1960s and 1970s. This art shows a recognition of ordinary dignity or the accidentally miraculous, an engagement with a new kind of anthropology, an immersion in the pleasures of popular culture, or a meditation on what happens when nothing happens. The celebration of the everyday has oppositional and dissident overtones, offering a voice to the silenced and proposing possibilities for change. This collection of writings by artists, theorists, and critics assembles for the first time a comprehensive anthology on the everyday in the world of contemporary art.

    Artists surveyed include Chantal Akerman, Francis Alÿs, Vladimir Arkhipov, Ian Breakwell, Stanley Brouwn, Sophie Calle, Marcel Duchamp, Fischli & Weiss, Nan Goldin, Dan Graham, Mona Hatoum, Susan Hiller, Ilya and Emilia Kabakov, Mary Kelly, Lettrist International, Jonas Mekas, Annette Messager, Aleksandra Mir, Roman Ondák, Yoko Ono, Gabriel Orozco, Martha Rosler, Allen Ruppersberg, Daniel Spoerri, Wolfgang Tillmans, Mierle Laderman Ukeles, Andy Warhol, Richard Wentworth, Stephen Willats.

    Writers include Paul Auster, Maurice Blanchot, Geoff Dyer, Hal Foster, Suzy Gablik, Ben Highmore, Henri Lefebvre, Lucy R. Lippard, Michel Maffesoli, Ivone Margulies, Helen Molesworth, Nikos Papastergiadis, Georges Perec, John Roberts, David Ross, Nicholas Serota, Michael Sheringham, Alison and Peter Smithson, Abigail Solomon-Godeau, Jeff Wall, Jonathan Watkins.

    • Paperback $24.95 £16.95
  • WACK!

    WACK!

    Art and the Feminist Revolution

    Cornelia Butler and Lisa Gabrielle Mark

    Groundbreaking art from a revolutionary era, featuring work by more than 120 international artists, from Louise Bourgeois and Yoko Ono to Martha Rosler, Marina Abramović, and Cindy Sherman.

    There had never been art like the art produced by women artists in the 1970s, and there has never been a book with the ambition and scope of this one about that groundbreaking era. WACK! documents and illustrates the impact of the feminist revolution on art made between 1965 and 1980, featuring pioneering and influential works by artists who came of age during that period, Chantal Akerman, Lynda Benglis, Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Valie Export, Mary Heilmann, Sanja Iveković, Ana Mendieta, Annette Messager, and others, as well as important works made in those years by artists whose careers were already well established, including Louise Bourgeois, Judy Chicago, Sheila Levrant de Bretteville, Lucy Lippard, Alice Neel, and Yoko Ono.

    The art surveyed in WACK! includes work by more than 120 artists, in all media, from painting and sculpture to photography, film, installation, and video, arranged not by chronology but by theme: Abstraction, "Autophotography," Body as Medium, Family Stories, Gender Performance, Knowledge as Power, Making Art History, and others. WACK!, which accompanies the first international museum exhibition to showcase feminist art from this revolutionary era, contains more than 400 color images. Highlights include the figurative paintings of Joan Semmel; the performance and film collaborations of Sally Potter and Rose English; the untitled film stills of Cindy Sherman; and the large-scale, craft-based sculptures of Magdalena Abakanowicz.

    Written entries on each artist offer key biographical and descriptive information and accompanying essays by leading critics, art historians, and scholars offer new perspectives on feminist art practice. The topics, including the relationship between American and European feminism, feminism and New York abstraction, and mapping a global feminism, provide a broad social context for the artworks themselves. WACK! is both a definitive visual record and a long-awaited history of one of the most important artistic movements of the twentieth century.

    Essays by: Cornelia Butler, Judith Russi Kirshner, Catherine Lord, Marsha Meskimmon, Richard Meyer, Helen Molesworth, Peggy Phelan, Nelly Richard, Valerie Smith, Abigail Solomon-Godeau, Jenni Sorkin

    Artists include: Marina Abramović, Chantal Akerman, Lynda Benglis, Dara Birnbaum, Louise Bourgeois, Judy Chicago, Lygia Clark, Jay DeFeo, Mary Beth Edelson, Valie Export, Barbara Hammer, Susan Hiller, Joan Jonas, Mary Kelly, Maria Lassnig, Linda Montano, Alice Neel, Senga Nengudi, Lorraine O'Grady, Pauline Oliveros, Yoko Ono, Orlan, Howardena Pindell, Yvonne Rainer, Faith Ringgold, Ketty La Rocca, Ulrike Rosenbach, Martha Rosler, Betye Saar, Miriam Schapiro, Carolee Schneemann, Cindy Sherman, Hannah Wilke

    • Hardcover $62.95 £38.95
  • Art After Conceptual Art

    Art After Conceptual Art

    Alexander Alberro and Sabeth Buchmann

    Well-known art historians from Europe and the Americas discuss the influence of conceptualism on art since the 1970s.

    Art After Conceptual Art tracks the various legacies of conceptualist practice over the past three decades. This collection of essays by art historians from Europe and the Americas introduces and develops the idea that conceptual art generated several different, and even contradictory, forms of art practice. Some of these contested commonplace assumptions of what art is; others served to buttress those assumptions. The bulk of the volume features newly written and highly innovative essays challenging standard interpretations of the legacy of conceptualism and discussing the influence of conceptualism's varied practices on art since the 1970s. The essays explore topics as diverse as the interrelationships between conceptualism and institutional critique, neoexpressionist painting and conceptualist paradigms, conceptual art's often-ignored complicity with design and commodity culture, the specific forms of identity politics taken up by the reception of conceptual art, and conceptualism's North/South and East/West dynamics. A few texts that continue to be crucial for critical debates within the fields of conceptual and postconceptual art practice, history, and theory have been reprinted in order to convey the vibrant and ongoing discussion on the status of art after conceptual art. Taken together, the essays will inspire an exploration of the relationship between postconceptualist practices and the beginnings of contemporary art.

    Distributed for the Generali Foundation, Vienna.

    • Paperback $36.95 £29.00