You must first login or register to follow this artist.
HomePage Artists

b. 1969, USA

Liza Lou Biography

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.

Read More

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

Liza Lou Featured Artworks

View All (49)
Bronze Aggregate by Liza Lou contemporary artwork sculpture
Liza LouBronze Aggregate, 2018Glass beads, thread, and epoxy resin
54.6 x 30.5 x 31.8 cm
Lehmann Maupin Contact Gallery
Terra Incognita by Liza Lou contemporary artwork sculpture, mixed media
Liza LouTerra Incognita, 2021Oil paint on glass beads and thread mounted on steel frame
60.96 x 60.96 x 5 cm
Lehmann Maupin Contact Gallery
Tree of Forgiveness by Liza Lou contemporary artwork sculpture
Liza LouTree of Forgiveness, 2021Glass beads, stretcher frame, aluminium frame
179.71 x 284.48 cm
Lehmann Maupin Contact Gallery
Nightsong (Lovers) by Liza Lou contemporary artwork painting, sculpture, textile
Liza LouNightsong (Lovers), 2019Oil paint on woven glass beads and thread on canvas
71.8 x 71.4 x 3.8 cm
Lehmann Maupin Contact Gallery
Desire Lines by Liza Lou contemporary artwork sculpture, textile
Liza LouDesire Lines, 2019Woven glass beads and thread on canvas
142.9 x 284.5 x 5.1 cm
Lehmann Maupin Contact Gallery
Unminding Cloud by Liza Lou contemporary artwork mixed media, textile
Liza LouUnminding Cloud, 2019Oil paint on woven glass beads and thread on canvas
181.3 x 214.9 x 5.1 cm
Lehmann Maupin Contact Gallery
Drawing Instrument by Liza Lou contemporary artwork moving image
Liza LouDrawing Instrument, 2018Single-channel video projection, colour, sound, 6 mins 17 secs
Lehmann Maupin Contact Gallery
The Clouds by Liza Lou contemporary artwork mixed media
Liza LouThe Clouds, 2015–2018Site-specific installation of oil paint on woven glass beads and thread on canvas
558.8 x 1336 x 7.6 cm
Lehmann Maupin Contact Gallery

Liza Lou Recent Exhibitions

View All (7)

Liza Lou Represented By

Lehmann Maupin contemporary art gallery in 536 West 22nd Street, New York, USA Lehmann Maupin Beijing, Hong Kong, London, New York, Seoul

Liza Lou In Ocula Magazine

Liza Lou In Related Press

View All (8)
Sign up to be notified when new artworks and exhibitions by Liza Lou are added to Ocula.
Sign Up