Art in focus: Avery Lawrence


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. (Heiner Contemporary)

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. (Heiner Contemporary)

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. (Heiner Contemporary)

The show also includes several surrealistic drawings associated with Lawrence’s films, such as "The Dandy I.” (Heiner Contemporary)

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. (Heiner Contemporary)

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)
Born and raised in Washington, D.C., Michael O’Sullivan has worked since 1993 at The Washington Post, where he covers art, film and other forms of popular — and unpopular — culture.

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