Lee Lozano (1930-1999) was a key figure and pioneer within the New York art scene of the 1960s and early 1970s. Throughout her entire oeuvre, which spans a little more than a decade, she produced ground-breaking work in a progression of styles, from the figurative and cartoonish pop-expressionism of her early paintings and drawings, through serial minimalism, to language-based conceptual pieces. A shrewd observer of urban culture, Lozano created work in response to the constraints of constitutional systems, disrupting dynamics of gender, power, money and politics.
In 1961, Lozano settled in downtown New York and, from the years 1961 to 1964, produced an extensive array of what were mostly caricature-like, aggressive drawings in graphite and colored pencil quickly propelled onto paper with sure, powerful strokes. The brute aesthetic of this series of early drawings, of which ‘No title’ (1962) is an example, is based on a combination of writing and images common in pop culture and advertising at the time. In lieu of commodities, Lozano represents fragments of the human body and libidinal objects combined with societal and political references, accompanied by tongue-in-cheek slogans forcefully written in black letters. In ‘No Title’,Lozano distorts the image of a highly historical and political symbol of the United States.
Lee Lozano’s paintings are admired for their energy, daring physicality and tirelessness in investigating the body and issues of gender. Although lauded by Lucy Lippard in 1995 as the foremost female conceptual artist of her time, Lozano had disengaged herself from the New York art world completely by the early 1970s. She left behind a body of work of striking formal breadth and complexity.