When An Image Works, Words Don’t Have To

One way to measure the importance of Louise Lawler and her work is to look outside the Museum of Modern Art at what is showing concurrently in the city. A number of exhibitions extend the central question of the museum’s retrospective, “Why Pictures Now.” Walead Beshty’s deconstructed office machinery would be unfairly written off as forbidding technobabble, Eric Fischl’s “Art Fair” paintings as toothless boomer wallowing, and Sara Cwynar as just another navel-gazing millennial, had Lawler and the Pictures Generation not paved the way for artists interested in the ways images operate in the world.