Avery Lawrence, pictured above, appears in “Arranging Suitcases.” The artist’s costume, which matches the upholstery of the chair on his back as well as the wallpaper behind him, is meant to evoke his paternal grandmother, who decorated with wallpaper.
Enter Avery Lawrence’s exhibition at Heiner Contemporary, and you’ll find a smattering of sculpture, wallpaper, installation, drawings and photography. But the work centers on two short films that are also being shown there, in a continuous loop. Conceived by and starring the New Orleans-based artist, “Moving a Tree” and “Arranging Suitcases” are enigmatic meditations on the theme of passage and transition, inspired by Lawrence’s maternal and paternal grandparents (each of whom is played by the artist, as he undertakes acts of bizarre physical exertion).
Read my review of Lawrence’s intriguing show, and check out a selection of images from the show after the jump.
Each of Lawrence’s two films involve strange, seemingly pointless physical exertion. In “Arranging Suitcases,” the artist transports an ungainly bundle of luggage on his back.
In “Moving a Tree,” Lawrence is shown cutting down a tree and then painstakingly re-assembling it a short distance away. His exhibitions often involve live performances by the artist, seen here on a treadmill, with a stump strapped to him like a backpack. Part of the show at Heiner, the stump was recently sold to a collector for an undisclosed sum.
The show also includes several surrealistic drawings associated with Lawrence’s films, such as "The Dandy I.”
Both of Lawrence’s films deal with the notion of transition — from one physical place to another, or from one world to the next. Here, the artist poses with his suitcases, which he is in the process of transporting, by pulley, across a New Orleans canal.
At the opening, Lawrence performed on a stationary bike/sousaphone, an odd construction that features prominently in “Arranging Suitcases.” On April 20, the artist will present another live performance at the show’s closing reception.
(Elizabeth Parkman/Heiner Contemporary)