Lot 102
  • 102

Lee Lozano

180,000 - 250,000 USD
175,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Lee Lozano
  • Hard
  • signed, titled and dated '64
  • graphite and pastel on paper 


Green Gallery, New York
Collection of Holly and Horace Solomon, New York (acquired from the above in 1964)
Collection of Thomas Solomon, Los Angeles (by descent from the above)
Hauser & Wirth, New York
Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2010


Kunsthalle Basel; Eindhoven, Van Abbemuseum, Win First Don't Last—Win Last Don't Care, June 2006 - January 2007, p. 65, illustrated in color 
Columbus, Wexner Center for the Arts, Solitaire: Lee Lozano—Sylvia Plimack Mangold—Joan Semmel, February - April 2008, pp. 53 and 152, illustrated in color
Maastricht, Marres, House for Contemporary Culture, Depression, September - November 2009
New York, Hauser & Wirth, Lee Lozano Tools, January - February 2011
Madrid, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Lee Lozano: Forzar la Máquina, May - September 2017, p. 183, illustrated

Catalogue Note

Executed shortly after Lee Lozano’s entry into the New York art world, Hard is a rare and emblematic example of the artist’s early Tool series. From the start of her practice in the early sixties to her abrupt self-imposed exile from the art world only ten years later, Lozano cycled through an extraordinary number of artistic styles, drawing influences from Pop art, Minimalism, and finally Conceptualism, and counted many of the giants of these movements as friends. Lozano’s Tool series redirects a lens on useful implements of productivity, casting a new light on consumer objects in the vein of the Pop art of her time. Often portrayed from close up angles, Lozano’s tools become anthropomorphized and sexualized. In the present work, an every day razor blade is distorted, the form elongated and the curves extenuated into an almost feminine hourglass. However, the sharp, menacing edge of the blade cannot be ignored. As the artist reinforces with the title, Hard, she is, in fact, depicting a cold metal object. The double meanings of words such as “tool” and “hard” were not lost on Lozano, and she made these sexual connotations and puns explicit in her depiction. This interest in language and meaning concerned Lozano throughout her career, and she kept careful private notebooks in which she recorded her artistic practice and thought process, especially in relation to her later conceptual works.

Lozano’s concern with traditionally masculine implements and sexuality may also be placed within the context of the social revolution of the sixties. However, Lozano was loath to join the organized movements of her time and rejected being labeled as a feminist. She stated, “I will not call myself an art worker but an art dreamer and I will participate only in a total revolution simultaneously personal and public” (Lee Lozano, “Open Hearing,” Art Workers Coalition Handbook, New York 1969, p. 38). Taking this personal revolt to an extreme, Lozano stopped speaking to other women as a conceptual experiment, and in her General Strike Piece of 1969 began to boycott the organized gallery scene. Finally, in Dropout Piece a few years later, she vanished from the New York art world altogether and moved to Texas. The aforementioned projects were considered by Lozano to be ongoing works of Conceptual art, but as a result, she ceased to produce material work for the rest of her lifetime. Hard, therefore, reigns as one of the few examples of her physical output. Exhibited widely in both gallery and museum shows internationally, Hard is a truly unique and powerful example of this enigmatic artist’s compelling practice.