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Havana Biennial 2019: Constructing the Possible Ocula Report Havana Biennial 2019: Constructing the Possible 17 Apr 2019 : Federica Bueti for Ocula

I first visited Havana in November 2016, a few days after Fidel Castro died, and just under a year before Hurricane Irma hit Cuba in September 2017. Since then, much has changed, including the hand-painted signs that punctuate the journey from the airport to the city centre, which today do not celebrate the revolution so much as the 'Unidad y...

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Andrew Stahl and Guo Xiaohui Ocula Conversation Andrew Stahl and Guo Xiaohui

The exhibition Beyond Boundaries at Somerset House in London (12 March–2 April 2019) marked the historic contributions of the Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing (CAFA) and the Slade School of Fine Art, University College London, on the occasion of their 100th and 150th anniversaries, respectively. Spread across several rooms of Somerset House's...

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The National 2019: New Australian Art Ocula Report The National 2019: New Australian Art 13 Apr 2019 : Elyse Goldfinch for Ocula

The National 2019: New Australian Art features work by 70 contemporary Australia-based artists split across three venues: the Art Gallery of New South Wales (AGNSW), Carriageworks, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA) (29 March–21 July 2019), as curated by Isobel Parker Philip, curator of photographs at AGNSW; Daniel Mudie Cunningham,...

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Liza Lou

b. 1969, USA

Liza Lou's artistic practice is based in repetition, formal materiality and social consciousness. She currently divides her time between her studios in Los Angeles and KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Throughout her practice Lou has consistently produced intricate and complex beadwork installations and hangings. Using mundane or dark subject matter, Lou speaks to systems of labour, beauty and human endurance.

Lou was first brought to public attention with her installation, Kitchen (1991-96) when it was shown at the New Museum in New York. Over the five years preceding its exhibition, she created the entire installation by herself. Slowly and laboriously over the course of half a decade, Lou presented a suburban kitchen in all its aspects—its many appliances, furniture and objects, as well as the dirty dishes in the sink—covered in small glass beads. In Kitchen Lou constructed a monument to women's work both in subject matter and process. She developed acute tendinitis in her hands from applying each bead with tweezers. The artwork has since been acquired by the Whitney Museum of American Art.

After Kitchen, with the support of the Whitney Museum of American Art's acquisition of the work, Lou began creating Backyard (1996-99). Backyard is another fully beaded scene, this time of a suburban lawn. It includes objects such as a picnic table, clothesline, tree and grass (250 000 individually beaded blades). Not much later, Lou began working on Trailer (1998-2000)—a mobile home whose interior is covered with black, white and silver beads. The beaded interior objects include a sofa, typewriter and coffee table with magazines. Since Kitchen, Lou's colour palette and gesture has become increasingly minimalist. She has moved to focusing on the subtle details of difference between the beads themselves as objects and subject matter.

The only deviation from Lou's beaded path appeared in a performance called Born Again, in which she reenacts her troubled childhood within her bohemian-turned-born-again Christian family and at the hands of her abusive father. In 2005 Lou moved to KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Soon after, she opened a studio there, where she works with traditional Zulu beadworkers. In KwaZulu-Natal, Lou created Security Fence (2005)—an impenetrable chain-link and razor wire enclosure beaded in silver. She also conceived of and constructed Barricade (2007-8)—a gate beaded in 24-karat gold. Both sculptures reflect Lou's experiences in South Africa; they are structures of containment and protection, but they end up as beautiful and alluring objects that support neither goal. Both works were made with the assistance of the Zulu beadworkers. Lou worked alongside these artists and in the process began to reframe her work in the context of traditional and social practice.

Lou was a 2002 MacArthur Fellow. She received the 2013 Anonymous Was A Woman Award, and has held solo exhibitions at Fundació Joan Miró, Barcelona; Aspen Art Museum, Colorado; and Neuberger Museum of Art, New York. She has participated in exhibitions at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo; Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC; and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. She has also exhibited at the Lyon Biennale, France; and Taipei Biennial, Taiwan, amongst others.

Casey Carsel | Ocula | 2018
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Featured Artworks

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Untitled #13 by Liza Lou contemporary artwork Liza LouUntitled #13, 2011 Woven glass beads on linen
66.5 x 68.5 cm
Goodman Gallery
Roll by Liza Lou contemporary artwork Liza LouRoll, 2008 Silver glass beads
17.5 x 17.5 x 12.4 cm
Lehmann Maupin
Midas / Solid by Liza Lou contemporary artwork Liza LouMidas / Solid, 2012–2014 Woven glass beads
164 x 163.5 cm
Lehmann Maupin
Loo by Liza Lou contemporary artwork Liza LouLoo, 2006 Cast resin and glass beads
37.5 x 47.4 x 51.4 cm
Lehmann Maupin
Lichenform III by Liza Lou contemporary artwork Liza LouLichenform III, 2018 Glass beads, thread, and epoxy resin on stainless steel
69.9 x 71.1 x 11.4 cm
Lehmann Maupin
Aggregate: Primary by Liza Lou contemporary artwork Liza LouAggregate: Primary, 2018 Glass beads, thread, and epoxy resin
57.2 x 34.3 x 29.2 cm
Lehmann Maupin
Terra | Cloud by Liza Lou contemporary artwork Liza LouTerra | Cloud, 2018 Glass beads, thread, and epoxy resin on stainless steel
77.5 x 77.5 x 11.4 cm (incl frame)
Lehmann Maupin
Aggregate: Bronze by Liza Lou contemporary artwork Liza LouAggregate: Bronze, 2018 Glass beads, thread, and epoxy resin
54.6 x 30.5 x 31.8 cm
Lehmann Maupin

Recent Exhibitions

Contemporary art exhibition, Liza Lou, Classification and Nomenclature of Clouds: Terra at Lehmann Maupin, New York
Closed
6 September–27 October 2018 Liza Lou Classification and Nomenclature of Clouds: Terra Lehmann Maupin, 536 West 22nd Street
Contemporary art exhibition, Liza Lou, Classification and Nomenclature of Clouds at Lehmann Maupin, New York
Closed
6 September–27 October 2018 Liza Lou Classification and Nomenclature of Clouds Lehmann Maupin, 501 West 24th Street
Contemporary art exhibition, Liza Lou, ingxube at Lehmann Maupin, Hong Kong
Closed
19 January–11 March 2017 Liza Lou ingxube Lehmann Maupin, Hong Kong

Represented By

In Ocula Magazine

New York Autumn Exhibitions: The Lowdown Ocula Report New York Autumn Exhibitions: The Lowdown 14 Sep 2018 : Jareh Das for Ocula

The autumn exhibition season has officially kicked off in New York, with countless solo and group exhibitions featuring emerging, mid-career, and established artists, with some exhibiting works in the US for the first time. With a host of exhibitions to choose from, including a series of stellar museum exhibitions whose runs are nearing completion,...

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In Related Press

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Celebrating Outstanding Glass Artists Who Happen to Be Women Related Press Celebrating Outstanding Glass Artists Who Happen to Be Women Hyperallergic : 8 January 2018

Toledo, Ohio — Whenever I encounter a museum exhibition that frames itself as presenting exclusively female artists, I have to run through the same internal debate about emphasizing artists' gender. I recognize the necessity of making a conscious effort to include or exclusively feature female artists — or any other broad swath of the...

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One artist's surprising, powerful new subject, 1000 dishcloths Related Press One artist's surprising, powerful new subject, 1000 dishcloths The New York TImes : 12 May 2016

In 1996, Liza Lou unveiled The Kitchen — a lifesize suburban kitchen rendered entirely in beads. The piece, which included a box of glittering Frosted Flakes and a cherry pie that gleamed like the crown jewels, took the artist five years to make. Soon followed Backyard, a vast suburban lawn, beaded down to the blades of grass. Since...

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One Artist’s Surprising, Powerful New Subject: 1,000 Dishcloths Related Press One Artist’s Surprising, Powerful New Subject: 1,000 Dishcloths The New York Times : 12 May 2016

In 1996, Liza Lou unveiled The Kitchen — a lifesize suburban kitchen rendered entirely in beads. The piece, which included a box of glittering Frosted Flakes and a cherry pie that gleamed like the crown jewels, took the artist five years to make. Soon followed Backyard, a vast suburban lawn, beaded down to the blades of grass. Since then,...

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Liza Lou’s Handmade Sea of Sparkling Glass Related Press Liza Lou’s Handmade Sea of Sparkling Glass The New York Times : 2 January 2016

For those who wear glasses, the artist Liza Lou suggests taking them off when viewing her newest work, Color Field. The site-specific installation, a monumental, iridescent grid of colors, is part of the exhibition Liza Lou: Color Field and Solid Grey at the Neuberger Museum of Art. Color Field blankets most of the floor of the Theater Gallery,...

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