Michael Andrew Law Meets with Liza Lou

Liza Lou (b. 1969, New York) has exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Victoria and Albert Museum, London; Israel Museum, Jerusalem; Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo; Fondation Cartier pour l’Art Contemporain, Paris; Contemporary Art Museum, Houston, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.; and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Lou’s work has been featured in solo exhibitions at Museum Kunst Palast, Düsseldorf; Henie Onstad Kunstsenter, Norway; Fundacio Joan Miró, Barcelona; SCAD Museum of Art, Savannah; Aspen Art Museum; Bass Museum of Art, Miami; and the Neuberger Museum of Art, New York. Her work has also been featured internationally at the 5th Biennale de Lyon d’art Contemporain, France; Taipei Biennial; Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taiwan; and ARS 01, KIASMA Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki. The artist’s work is also in many prominent museum collections, including The Whitney Museum of American Art, the Cleveland Museum of Art, The Brant Foundation, The Hammer Museum and The Museum of Modern Art, New York. In 2005, Lou moved to South Africa, where she established a studio with Zulu bead workers. Lou is the recipient of a 2013 Anonymous Was A Woman Award and in 2002 she received the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Fellowship. The artist is based between Los Angeles and KwaZulu-Natal.

Lou’s work can be interpreted as a meditation on labor and process that welcomes variance and accident to illuminate repetition. For more than two decades, she has worked with glass beads as her primary medium. From working alone on large-scale sculptures to developing unique community strategies, she investigates the beauty of labor, challenges the accepted definitions of art and craft, and addresses the socio-political issues of gender, class, race, and community. For her best-known installation, Kitchen (1991-96), now in the permanent collection of the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, she worked alone over five years to create a life-sized replica of an American kitchen, complete with brand-name household products, in which every surface was meticulously overlaid with small glass beads. The monumental piece established Lou as a sculptor and solidified her commitment to highlighting the often-invisible labor of women.

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