Liza Lou

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Liza Lou
Liza Lou Image.jpg
New York City
Notable workKitchen; Back Yard; Security Fence; Continuous Mile; Color Field
AwardsMacArthur Fellows Program

Liza Lou (born 1969) is an American visual artist best known for producing large scale sculpture using glass beads.


Continuous Mile by Liza Lou in display at the Corning Museum of Glass

Liza Lou was born in New York City and raised in Los Angeles.[1] Lou attended San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco, CA, but dropped out when it became evident her professors did not take her work with beads seriously.[2]

Lou came to prominence with the 168-square-foot (15.6 m2) work Kitchen (1991-1996), a to-scale and fully equipped replica of a kitchen covered in beads.[3] The work took five years to complete and was followed with Back Yard (1996-1999), for which Lou enlisted the help of volunteers to recreate grass in a 525-square-foot (48.8 m2) model of a backyard.[4] Kitchen is in the permanent collection of the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York,[5] and Back Yard is in the permanent collection of the Fondation Cartier pour l'art contemporain, Paris.

In 2005, Lou moved from Los Angeles to Durban, South Africa. In Durban, she created many sculptures and paintings with the help of 50 South African beadworkers.

In 2006, Lou started creating one of her most notable works, Continuous Mile, with help of a team of Zulu women. Continuous Mile is composed of more than 4.5 million black beads, sewn into ropes which are then coiled into a cylindrical shape. The theme of this work is "work," or process. As Lou states, "The idea was to employ as many people as possible, using the slowest possible technique in order to engage a community, and to build homes in the process of making an art work."[2][6]

Lou won the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Fellowship in 2002 and the Anonymous Was a Woman Artist Award in 2013. She currently lives and works in KwaZulu-Natal and Los Angeles.[7]

Solo exhibitions[edit]



  • September 24-December 13, 2008: Liza Lou, L&M Arts, New York
  • September 24-November 29, 2008: Liza Lou: Maximum Security, Lever House, New York
  • March 3-April 8, 2006: Liza Lou, White Cube, London
  • October 22-November 20, 2004: The Damned, Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac. Paris[8]
  • 2002: Testimony, Deitch Projects, New York
  • 2002: Liza Lou, Museum Kunst Palast, Düsseldorf, Germany
  • 2002: Leaves of Glass, Henie Onstad Kunstsenter, Oslo, Norway
  • 2001: Liza Lou II, Bass Museum of Art, Miami, FL
  • 2001: Trailer, Southeastern Contemporary Art Center, Winston-Salem, NC
  • 2000: American Presidents 1-43, Renwick Gallery, Smithsonian Institution of American Art, Washington, D.C.
  • 2000: Liza Lou, Akron Art Museum, Akron, OH

Before 2000[edit]

  • 1999: American Glamorama, Grand Central Terminal, Vanderbilt Hall, New York
  • 1999: Kitchen, Contemporary Art Center, Cincinnati, OH
  • 1999: American Presidents 1-42, Contemporary Arts Center of Virginia, Virginia Beach, VA
  • 1999: Kitchen, University of Wyoming Art Museum, Laramie, WY
  • 1998: Liza Lou, Bass Museum of Art, Miami, FL
  • 1998: Portrait Gallery, Aspen Art Museum, Aspen, CO
  • 1998: Liza Lou, Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, MO
  • 1998: Kitchen and Backyard, Santa Monica Museum of Art, Santa Monica, CA
  • 1998: Backyard, Fundació Joan Miró, Espai 13, Barcelona, Spain
  • 1998: Portrait Gallery, P.P.O.W., New York
  • 1998: Most Admired Disorder, Haines Gallery, San Francisco, CA
  • 1997: American Presidents 1-42, Hudson River Museum of Westchester, Yonkers, NY
  • 1997: American Presidents 1-42, California Center for the Arts Museum, Escondido, CA
  • 1997: American Presidents 1-42, Quint Gallery, La Jolla, CA
  • 1996: Kitchen, Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Minneapolis, MN
  • 1996: Forty-two American Presidents, Quint Gallery, La Jolla, CA
  • 1996: Liza Lou, Capp Street Projects, San Francisco, CA
  • 1996: Liza Lou, Center for Creative Studies, Detroit, MI
  • 1996: Liza Lou, John Natsoulas Gallery, Davis, CA
  • 1995: Socks and Underwear, Franklin Furnace, New York
  • 1994: Kitchenette, California State University Art Gallery, Fullerton, CA

Group exhibitions[edit]


  • 2016: Material Considerations, John Berggruen Gallery, San Francisco, CA
  • 2015: Edge of Silence, Goodman Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa
  • 2015: Patterns of Abstraction, John Berggruen Gallery, San Francisco, CA
  • 2015: Painting @ the edge of Art, Contemporary Art Galleries, University of Connecticut, CT
  • 2015: ENDLESS, Keitelman Gallery, Brussels, Belgium
  • 2015: Other People's Memories, Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa
  • 2014: Surfacing On, Goodman Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa
  • 2014: Stories of Espai 10 and Espai 13, Fundació Joan Miró, Barcelona, Spain
  • 2013: 30 Years, Salzburg Villa Kasy and Halle, Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Salzburg
  • 2013: Turn off the Sun: Selections from la Colección Jumex, ASU Art Museum, Design and the Arts, Phoenix, AZ
  • 2013: The C of O Show, Krege Gallery, Berrie Center for Performing Art and Visual Arts, Ramapo College, New Jersey
  • 2013: DISASTER, Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Pantin-Paris
  • 2013: La Belle est la Bête, L'Institut Culturel Bernard Magrez, Bordeaux, France
  • 2012: Lightness?, Maison Particuliére, Brussels, Belgium
  • 2012: Advance Notice, Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa
  • 2011: Memories of the Future, The Olbricht's Collection, Curated by Wolfgand Schoppmann, La Maison Rouge, Paris
  • 2011: Strange Beauty: Baroque Sensibilities in Contemporary Art, I.D.E.A Space, Colorado College, Colorado Springs, Colorado
  • 2011: Invitational Exhibition of Visual Arts, Academy of Arts and Letters, New York
  • 2011: January White Sale, Loretta Howard Gallery, New York
  • 2010: Now What?, Norton Museum of Art, West Palm Beach, Florida
  • 2010: The Artist's Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles
  • 2010: Make Craft, Ben Maltz Gallery, Otis College of College of Art and Design, Los Angeles
  • 2010: Skin Fruit: Selections from the Dakis Joannou Collection, Curated by Jeff Koons, New Museum, New York
  • 2010: Kuperferstichkabinett: Between Thought and Action, White Cube Gallery, London
  • 2010: 19th Century and Modern Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
  • 2010: Selections from the Permanent Collection, Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH
  • 2010: Lust for Life, Dance of Death, Olbricht Collection, Kunsthalle, Krems, Austria


  • 2009: Diana und Actaeon: Der Verbotene Blick Auf Die Nacktheit, Museum Kunst Palast, Düsseldorf, Germany
  • 2008: Bizarre Perfection, Israel Museum, Jerusalem, Israel
  • 2008: In the Land of Retinal Delights, Laguna Art Museum, Laguna, CA
  • 2008: Innovations in the Third Dimension: Sculpture of Our Time, Bruce Museum, Greenwich, Connecticut
  • 2007: The Contemporary Self Portrait, Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Salzburg, Austria
  • 2007: The Complexity of the Simple, L&M Arts, New York
  • 2007: Rockers Island-Olbricht Collection, Museum Folkwang, Essen, Germany
  • 2007: The Death Instinct, The Haifa Museum of Art, Haifa, Israel
  • 2006: Transitional Objects: Contemporary Still Life, Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase College, State University of New York, New York
  • 2006: Collection of the Fondation Cartier pour l'art contemporain, Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, Metropolitan Kiba Park, Tokyo, Japan
  • 2005: Translation, Works from the Dakis Joannou Collection, Palais de Tokyo, Paris
  • 2005: Over+Over: Passion for Process, Krannert Art Museum, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Katonah Museum of Art, Katonah; Addison Gallery of American Art, Philips Academy in Andover
  • 2004: Monument to Now, Deste Foundation for Contemporary Art, Athens, Greece
  • 2004: Splat, Boom, Pow: Cartoons in Contemporary Art, Contemporary Art Museum, Houston; ICA, Boston and Wexner Center for the Arts, OH
  • 2003: Undomesticated Interiors, Smith College Art Museum at the Brown Fine Arts Center, North Hampton
  • 2003: Perpetual Bliss: Form, Symbol, and Material in Contemporary Art, Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Paris
  • 2003: Skulptur03, Max Gandolph-Bibliothek, Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Salzburg, Austria
  • 2003: Shine, Boijmans Museum, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
  • 2002: Melodrama, Centro-Museo Vasco de Arte Contemporàneo, Basque; Palacio de los Condes de Gabia/Centro Jose Guerro, Granada, and Museo de Arte Contemporànea de Vigo, Spain
  • 2002: Bingo, Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Paris
  • 2002: Fusion Cuisine, Deste Foundation for Contemporary Art, Athens, Greece
  • 2001: Un Art Populaire, Fondation Cartier, Paris
  • 2001: Give and Take, organized by Serpentine Gallery and Victoria and Albert Museum, London
  • 2001: ARS 01, KIASMA Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki, Finland
  • 2001: Art Through the Eye of the Needle, Henie Onstad Kunstsenter, Oslo, Norway
  • 2000: Color and Fire: Defining Moments in Studio Ceramics, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles; Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City; The Tucson Museum of Art, Tucson; Memorial Art Gallery of the University of Rochester, NY
  • 2000: Sharing Exoticism, Biennale de Lyon d'art Contemporain, Lyon, France; Taipei Biennial, Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taipei, Taiwan
  • 2000: Made in California: Art, Image, and Identity 1900-2000, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles

Before 2000[edit]

  • 1999: First Annual Post-Impeachment Show, Track 16 Gallery, Santa Monica, CA
  • 1998: Site Specific, The Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, Ridgefield, CT
  • 1996: A Labor of Love, The New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York
  • 1996: Art for the New Millenium, The Fabric Workshop/Museum, Philadelphia, PA
  • 1996: Subversive Domesticity, Edwin A. Ulrich Museum of Art, Wichita, KS
  • 1996: An Embarrassment of Riches, Huntington Beach Arts Center, Huntington, CA


  1. ^ a b Lehrer, Adam, ", Forbes, October 21, 2015. Retrieved 2015-11-08.
  2. ^ a b "Continuous Mile". Glass App. Corning Museum of Glass. Retrieved 3 March 2016.
  3. ^ sabine7 (6 September 2005). "Kitchen". MOCO Art. MOCO LOCO. Retrieved 5 March 2015.
  4. ^ sabine7 (7 September 2005). "Backyard". MOCO Art. MOCO LOCO. Retrieved 5 March 2015.
  5. ^ "Liza Lou: Kitchen, 1991-95". Whitney Museum of American Art. Whitney Museum of American Art. Retrieved 5 March 2015.
  6. ^ Oldknow, Tina. "Liza Lou." Collecting Contemporary Glass: Art and Design after 1990 from the Corning Museum of Glass. Corning: Corning Museum of Glass, 2014. 126-27. Print.
  7. ^ Christopher Bagley (Sep 2008). "Liza Lou". Retrieved 24 September 2014.
  8. ^ Liza Lou's catalogue on artnet Monographs