Liza Lou

Liza Lou - "Born again"

Liza Lou - "Born again"

Several months ago, in response to a reader’s comment, I posted a couple of my photos of Liza Lou’s artwork on my gallery page, and ever since then I have been surprised by the number of hits that my blog gets searching for “Liza Lou,” so I figured that for those of you looking for Liza Lou here, I might as well provide an actual article.



I became a fan of Liza Lou’s artwork when I saw her “Beaded Kitchen” at the New Museum, NYC, in 1996.

It was an actual-size kitchen, fully furnished with table, chairs, cabinets, sink, detergent boxes, food, etc.; an ordinary kitchen except that every surface — and every undersurface — was completely covered with sparkling colored beads.

It was an audaciously original idea, brilliantly (literally) executed, and I was smitten. Besides, anyone whose ambition is to “bead the world” has my vote, and she certainly deserves the MacArthur “genius” grant that was awarded to her in 2002.

The next Liza Lou exhibition that I saw was the beaded interior of a full-size trailer (detail below) that was parked inside the dimly lit, cavernous Deitch Projects gallery in 2003.

Liza Lou trailer detail

Liza Lou - Trailer detail

I read online that the outside of the trailer was beaded, too, but I didn’t see it. That isn’t as weird as it sounds, because it was actually a subtly-beaded trailer (!) in a poorly-lit space. You can see the trailer — inside and out — and more of Liza Lou’s early work here.

If I followed the art scene more closely, I might not have been so surprised by some of the new work in her show last winter at L&M Arts in New York. There was a beaded, full-size chain-link fence enclosure (complete with razor wire), and huge coils of beaded cable, but what I didn’t expect were the beautiful wall pieces with sophisticated, complex imagery and beaded/dimensional/textured surfaces.  A detail from one piece is shown below and L&M Arts has an excellent slideshow of images from the exhibition on its website.


Liza Lou - "Offensive/Defensive" 2008, detail


Last I read, Liza Lou is working with Zulu beaders in Durban, South Africa, so here’s an example from an exhibition of Zulu glass beadwork in 2003, and click on the link to see more.

Zulu beaded stripes

Zulu beaded stripes

She must feel right at home.

Update: for more about Liza Lou, see
my latest article

3 Responses

  1. Wow – the gallery of her work on her website is amazing! I love beads, even though I seldom work with them.

    I can’t imagine how many hours go into each of these pieces. Thanks for writing about this!!


  2. Great post! Are you familiar with Nina Katchadourian’s work? You might enjoy her “mended spiderweb series”…I think they’re quite cool. (Her “animal crossdressings” are also hysterical but maybe not so related…!)

    • Hi, Hill, Thanks for the comment and thanks for the link. I’m still smiling about “Marketing Tips For Spiders,” so I’m sure that I will enjoy the spirit of Ms Katchadourian’s work. Btw, did you notice my spiderweb post down below? — AF

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