Mouse on a Tightrope is a black-and-white photograph of an installation by Maurizio Cattelan in the library of Paula Cooper featuring a mouse dangling from a tightrope. Printed on fiber-based paper, the work is intended for placement in the viewer/collector’s own library. Like many of Lawler’s work, Mouse on a Tightrope aims to situate its content directly in the context in which it is shown.
Louise Lawler (b. 1947 in Bronxville, New York) was one of the most prominent members of the Pictures Generation, a group of artists named for an influential exhibition, Pictures, organized in 1977 by art historian Douglas Crimp at Artists Space in New York. These artists, among them Cindy Sherman, Sherrie Levine, and Jack Goldstein, used photography and image appropriation to examine the functions and codes of representation in movies, television, magazines, and other forms of mass media. Lawler’s work continues to raise questions about the production, circulation, and presentation of contemporary art. In 2017, she was the subject of a solo exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art titled Why Pictures Now. She has also exhibited work at the Museum Ludwig in Cologne, Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus, Ohio, and Dia:Beacon in New York. She has been included in numerous group exhibitions, including at the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston; MoMA PS1, New York; MUMOK, Vienna; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; and the Whitney Museum, New York, which additionally featured the artist in its 1991, 2000, and 2008 biennials.