Thomas Lawson, Overcoming, at the Hammer


Thomas Lawson gave a lecture a the Hammer Museum which is reported on by the blog Painting in LA some of Lawson's remarks are here. I'm hoping the Hammer posts the podcast soon, I'll post the link if/when it becomes available.

You may recall Lawson's provocative essay "Last Exit: Painting" in which he suggests that painting provides the only way out of the illustrative tendency of photography and photographically derived work.

Painting in LA reports the lecture was more of an artist talk with Lawson insight into his own painting practice.

"One of the questions that haunts me in my studio practice...is painting a valid expression? Are the visual arts even that valid anymore?  Obviously that indicates a certain set of readings that have to do with political theory and cultural theory that have been investigated ad nauseum from the mid-century onwards.  But they're very telling arguments and they're very difficult arguments to confront and to overcome, and I think you have to overcome them.  And one aspect of the overcoming, I think - or this is my current situation or my current position - is that you have to open yourself up to a kind of idea of humor.  That you can do whatever you like as long as it makes for something that is discontinuous and upsetting, or unsettling and sort of unbalanced in some way."

Martyr 1, 2006
Oil on canvas
12”x12”

New World: Doubt, 2008
Oil on canvas
72”x60”

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