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Louise Lawler. An Arrangement of Pictures. New York: Assouline, 2000. 70 pp (unpag.), 54 color ills., 25 b/w. $65.
It's a sticky problem setting out to find a place for Louise Lawler in the art-historical canon. After all, what do we make of a catalogue raisonne on a practitioner of institutional critique? At the same time, we don't want to exclude Lawler's model from art-historical discourse on some puritanical principle. Indeed, a catalogue raisonne could, in fact, present an opportunity to continue deconstructing the problematic of cultural documentation. For the most part, An Arrangement of Pictures rises to the challenge.
Readers unfamiliar with Lawler's projet will find useful the book's introductory essay by Johannes Meinhardc, entitled "The Sites of Art: Photographing the in-Between. In it, he describes her work's denotative function as such: "Louise Lawler photographs works of art in their own contexts in the most diverse stages of their transportation, presentation and storage: in museum depositories, stores, gallery print-cupboards, private collections, offices, at auctions and undergoing transportation." On a basic level, Lawler's art is thus portrayed as a form of museum documentary: "Her photographs are neutral," Meinhardt argues, "they neither denounce nor criticize nor do they take a stand with regard to the situation.... Her photographs are not about evaluation and analysis, but …