Lee Lozano isn't exactly a household name--even in art houses. But in the 1960s and early '70s, she was very much part of New York's art scene; she knew everyone and is remembered as an intense and engaging figure (her inamorati included such diversely talented men as Dan Graham and Joey Ramone). To say the least, Lozano had a strange--and brief--career; though lasting just over a decade, it encompassed a series of distinct styles and practices. For several years, she exhibited regularly, including group shows at Richard Bellamy's Green Gallery in 1964 and 1965. Later she distanced herself from the art world before finally dropping out altogether.
DR: She announced General Strike on February 8, 1969, and two months later made a related statement at the Art Workers' Coalition. She said from that point forward she would only do things that involved "total personal and public revolution," and that didn't mean stopping painting, but she withdrew from commercial shows, like one organized by Richard Bellamy at Goldowsky Gallery. And, of course, Bellamy was one of the most adventurous, least commercial gallerists, making Lozano's decision all the more extreme.
KS: That's interesting now, because people are always talking about rampant careerism and the dominance of the market today compared to the '70s. She seems to have been unusually sensitive to these problems.
DR: Yes, in strikingly radical ways. She stopped going to meetings of the Art Workers' Coalition after this statement. She said she wasn't an art worker, but an art dreamer. They weren't radical enough for her, in that they weren't artistic enough. She wanted the two things to come together-a very difficult position to sustain.