Lutz Bacher, 1942–2019

The pseudonymous conceptual artist has died

Lutz Bacher, Jokes (Shirley MacLaine), 1988, distressed photograph on aluminum, 76 x 99 cm. Courtesy Ratio 3, San Francisco

The artist who went under the pseudonym of Lutz Bacher has died. The American, who assumed the male alias at the beginning of her forty-year, was known for her neo-Conceptualist work whichvariously incorporated found objects, painting, photography, video, text, installations, collage, photocopies and sculpture.

Writing in the summer 2015 issue of ArtReview Martin Herbert noted 'Here and not here has been Bacher’s modus operandi since the mid-1970s. Her approach has been constantly to shape-shift, deny her authorial signature, disperse like smoke.'

Associated with the art scene that grew up around Berkely in San Francisco, Bacher exhibited internationally including shows at Secession, Vienna (2016); Aspen Art Museum, Colorado (2014); National Museum of Denmark, Copenhagen (2014); and Contemporary Art Museum, St. Louis (2008). In 2009, her work was the subject of a retrospective survey at MoMA PS1 in New York and in 2013 a touring exhibition making stops at Portikus in Frankfurt; the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London; and Kunsthalle Zürich.

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Future Great profile, by Beatrix Ruf, March 2013

‘Humour is paired with biting analysis, ostensible authority derived from competence and displayed amateurism – collective desire and collective weakness.’

Review of Lutz Bacher: Black Beauty at the ICA, London, by Chris Fite-Wassilak, December 2013
‘There is something more, though, to Bacher’s pilfered stage props arranged to create profane, self-undermining conjurings of kitsch sublime. It feels personal’

Feature profile, by Martin Herbert, Summer 2015
‘Bacher has enlarged herself, pragmatically. Recognising the cult of personality that clings to artists, she’s made herself a personality in absentia, . la Warhol and Duchamp, a personality not reified but accepting that people are larger than any image put on them.’

Review of Lutz Bacher: The Silence of the Sea at Lafayette Anticipations, Paris, by Martin Herbert, May 2018
‘Perennially edgy artist, aware of how the divisions between cool and commerce are collapsing, agrees to dally with culture-leveraging commercial enterprise but still doesn’t want to be bought.’

16 May 2019