stedelijk @

stedelijk @ if i can’t dance - louise lawler
12 Jun 2012

June 12, 2012, 7 pm  

Location: The Movies, Amsterdam
Language: English
Tickets: € 10, no Cineville discounts

On June 12, a new edition of Louise Lawler's 1979 work, A Movie Will Be Shown Without the Picture, will be presented at The Movies in Amsterdam. This evening is a co-production of If I Can't Dance and the Stedelijk Museum. A Movie Will Be Shown Without the Picture, first presented at the Aero Theater in Santa Monica, California, in 1979, revolves around the announcement and screening of a film chosen by Louise Lawler, and foregrounds the performative aspects of viewing and announcing a film in a cinema setting. The screening is followed by a talk in the presence of the artist Louise Lawler, with artist Andrea Fraser and critic Sven Lütticken, and with a response by art historian Eric de Bruyn.

Lawler’s A Movie Will Be Shown Without the Picture can be seen as a crucial piece whose actual and potential consequences for contemporary art and theory deserve in-depth analysis. Sven Lütticken points out that, “As an appropriation of film that is (seemingly) without pictures, as a performative intervention in the cinematic context, as a (non) event that stresses the spectators’ agency by leaving them in the dark, A Movie Will Be Shown Without the Picture has a complex temporality. It can be related to other works by Lawler and a number of other artists from the late 1970s and early 1980s, when artists examined elements of ‘cinematic’ culture such as the film still and the film screening—in other words, elements that had usually been treated as mere context for the ‘actual’ film. However, A Movie… has produced after-images and after-effects well beyond the years around 1980. While later versions of A Movie… have kept the piece in the public view to some extent, its visibility is marginal when compared with some of Lawler’s other work—particularly in Europe.”

The presentation of A Movie Will Be Shown Without the Picture is part of a research project undertaken by Sven Lütticken and Louise Lawler, and marks the beginning of their research within the framework of If I Can't Dance's Performance in Residence program. With Performance in Residence, If I Can't Dance considers performative art works as case studies for research projects with associated artists and curators that lead to new productions.

More information about the speakers

Louise Lawler (b. 1947, New York) lives and works in New York. Lawler became well known in the 1980s for her photographs of art works situated in the homes of collectors, auction houses, and galleries. These photos show art works in constellations with designer objects and everyday objects, or offer “backstage” glimpses of works in transit or prior to installation. 
Often framed as “appropriation art,” or “institutional critique,” Lawler’s photographic work, which she maintains to this day, lays bare the day-to-day operations of the art world and its circulation and presentation of art works. The work also, importantly, exposes an affective engagement of the artist with her subject matter. Lawler’s practice also extends into audio pieces, installations, events, and several kinds of ephemera, which Helen Molesworth has described as asserting “poignancy” that is characterized by both passion and sharpness, and attests to the complexity of personal and political commitment in artistic practice.

Sven Lütticken (b. 1971, Kempen, Germany) teaches art history at VU University Amsterdam. He is the author of Secret Publicity: Essays on Contemporary Art (2006) and Idols of the Market: Modern Iconoclasm and the Fundamentalist Spectacle (2009).

Andrea Fraser 
(b. 1965, Montana, USA) is an artist and a faculty member of the Art Department at the University of California, Los Angeles. 

Eric de Bruyn 
is assistant professor of Film and Photographic Studies at Leiden University.

With thanks to PhDArts, a doctoral program in visual artist and design at the Royal Academy of Art, The Hague, in collaboration with Leiden University. For more information, please visit