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Voices in Contemporary Art: Liza Lou

Thursday, February 21, 2019

7:15 pm EST

Liza Lou discusses her work during Voices in Contemporary Art: Liza Lou on February 21, 2019. Photograph by Tom Loonan.


Artist Liza Lou will discuss her work, including Carbon / Solid, 2012–14, which is currently on view in the exhibition We the People: New Art from the Collection. The artists in We the People are interested in how we define our identities, form our communities, and confront the various forces that shape our lives. 

Learn More about the Voices in Contemporary Art Lecture Series

About the Artist

Liza Lou (American, born 1969) first gained attention in 1996 when her room-sized sculpture Kitchen was shown at the New Museum in New York. Representing five years of solo labor, this groundbreaking work introduced glass beads, a material Lou has consistently used since then. Through its slow, hand-made production process, Kitchen became a monument to women whose labor has historically gone unrecognized. The project established Lou's exploration of materiality, social practice, and confinement.

In 2005, Lou moved to KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, where she employed a team of Zulu women, versed in the tradition of beadwork, to realize a large-scale sculpture called Security Fence, 2005. Working side-by-side with women artisans enabled the artist to reconsider her practice in a non-Western, historical, and sociological framework and to highlight material and labor as subject matter in themselves. Over the past decade, Lou has focused on a minimal palette using the natural variations of color caused by the sweat, oils, and imperfections of the human hand as a form of tonal mark-making. In her monochromatic, pixelated, woven 'paintings' with beads, subtle variations and streaks reveal a humanity and beauty beneath the repetitive and invisible process of the work's creation.

Lou continues to work in South Africa and Los Angeles and is currently developing a major artwork and sustainable employment project within a women’s prison in Belém, Brazil.

Program Sponsor

Voices in Contemporary Art is presented by HSBC Bank USA.