Laurie Anderson - A Photo of the Artist - Image via pomegranateartscom music album

Laurie Anderson /   Laura Phillips Anderson

United States 1947

Performance Art, Video Art

Laurie Anderson
Laura Phillips Anderson
United States
January 31, 2017
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Known for her pioneering work that spans over a wide range of mediums and techniques, Laurie Anderson is an American artist whose pieces can be best described as experimentations with performance and multimedia projects. A successful composer, musician and film director as well, this New York City-based author initially trained in violin and sculpting before she focused her attention on a variety of performance projects during the 1970s. It should be noted that, although she was always extremely well-regarded within the neo-avant-garde arts circles, Anderson became a musical icon in the 1980s for her hit single O Superman, a song that reached number two on the UK pop charts. It should also be stated that Laurie Anderson was married to the legendary Lou Reed and the two remained a couple up until the time of the late musician’s death in 2013.

David Anderson's rock festival was like a big live music album
Laurie Anderson – The artist performing her piece – Image via

First Performances and Recordings

Laurie Anderson was born on the 5th of June in the year of 1947, in the town of Glen Ellyn, Illinois. She was the daughter of Mary Louise and Arthur T. Anderson. After graduating from the Glenbard West High School, young Laurie attended Mills College in California and eventually graduated from the Barnard College where she was mainly studying art history. By the end of 1972, Anderson received her MFA in sculpture from the Columbia University. Her first performance piece was a symphony played on automobile horns was performed in 1969. In the early 1970s, she was drawing underground comic books, working as an instructor, a critic for magazines such as Artforum and was in charge of illustrating a few children books[1]. Soon, Laurie will start dedicating all of her efforts to performance art and similar projects – one of her more famous early pieces was titled as Duets on Ice and it involved her playing the violin along with a recording while wearing ice skates with the blades frozen into a block of ice. The performance would end only when the ice block would completely melt, allowing the author to free herself.

Laurie Anderson - The Artist at BAM - Image via pinterestcom
Laurie Anderson – The Artist at BAM – Image via pinterestcom

A Rising Star

Other notable projects from the early periods of the artist’s career were New York Social Life and The Time to Go, both of which enjoyed massive success from the critics. During the late 1970s, Anderson made a number of musical recordings that were released either privately or were included on compilations of avant-garde music. However, it should really be noted that many of Anderson’s earliest recordings remain unreleased to this day whilst many were only issued in limited quantities. In the year of 1980, Anderson was on the receiving end of an Honorary Doctorate from the San Francisco Art Institute. Two years later, she was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship for Creative Arts—Film.

Above all else, Laurie Anderson is known for her artistic versatility and alternative approaches to creativity

Laurie Anderson - Heart of a Dog, a Shot from the movie A big like - Image via theartblogorg
Laurie Anderson – Heart of a Dog, a Shot from the movie – Image via

All the Shows, Film Projects, Festivals and Music

As it was already mentioned in the opening paragraph, Anderson became widely known outside the arts world in 1981 with the single O Superman, originally released in a limited quantity by B. George’s One Ten Records in 1981. A few years later, Laurie starred in and directed the 1986 concert film Home of the Brave and also created a few soundtracks for other independent films. From the 1990s, Anderson and Lou Reed collaborated on a number of recordings together. Furthermore, Anderson became more aware of science and its importance to the human race, becoming a bigger part of scientific shows and festivals. This fascination with science eventually blended with her artistic practices, offering an interesting mix that will become a unique form of work Anderon is now known for. In 2003, Laurie even became NASA’s first artist-in-residence, an event that inspired her performance piece called The End of the Moon. With the explanation that she provided an outstanding contribution to the beauty of the world and to mankind’s enjoyment and understanding of life, this artist was awarded the 2007 Gish Prize. Over the course of the 1990s and the early portions of the third millennium, Laurie Anderson received an astonishing number of awards and held even more exhibitions of her work, as well as developing countless projects that were all deemed as being great accomplishments[2][3]. She was also the author of countless musical albums and singles, whether they were of the avant-garde, experimental sort or the more conventional type. Regardless of what she was working with, Anderson was always extremely successful and there is not taking that away from her.

Laurie Anderson is one of those rare artists in the world of art where using the word pioneering is not an overstatement in the slightest

New home videos and music of Lou Reed on David Anderson's rock festival and live album
Laurie Anderson – The artist performing her piece – Image via

The Uniqueness of Laurie Anderson

The reason why the art of Laurie Anderson is so hard to define is also the main reason why everything she ever created is held in such a high regard – it’s incredibly pioneering and utterly unique. It defies any attempt to be precisely categorized or fully defined simply because there are not many similar arts out there deserving of being compared with the pieces of Anderson. With that being said, Laurie’s particular use of language, technology and visual imagery is simply astonishing. The way she was able to provide her expression with the circumstances to thrive and evolve is also been quite crucial as these types of artists need to constantly test themselves in order to be the best that they can be. Ultimately, the work of Laurie Anderson keeps developing to this day and we shall surely be surprised if at one point she stops being observed as one of the most pivotal artists that emerged during the course of the 20th century.

Laurie Anderson lives and works in New York City, The United States.


  1. Goldberg, R., Laurie Anderson, Harry N. Abrams; First Edition, 2000
  2. Anderson, L., Laurie Anderson: Night Life, Steidl; First Edition, 2006
  3. Anderson, L., Laurie Anderson: Dal Vivo, Fondazione Prada; 2nd edition, 1999

Featured image: Laurie Anderson – A Photo of the Artist – Image via
All images used for illustrative purposes only.

YearExhibition TitleGallery/MuseumSolo/Group
2016Team 404ZABRISKIE POINT, Geneva Group
2015Laurie Anderson: NightArt Bärtschi & Cie, Geneva Solo
2015This is Not A ConnectionCirrus Gallery, Los Angeles, CA Group
2015Imago Mundi. Luciano Benetton Collection. Mappa dell’arte nuovaFondazione Giorgio Cini, Venice Group
2015ListeningSite Gallery, Sheffield Group
2015Welcome to the Future! The floppy cd-rom revolutioniMAL (interactive Media Art Laboratory), Brussels Group
2014Urban Theater: New York Art In The 1980sThe Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Fort Worth, TX Group
2014Art of SoundFondazione Prada, Venice Group
2014Die anderen AmerikanerLudwig Forum für Internationale Kunst, Aachen Group
2014Des choses en moins, des choses en plus [something less, something more]Palais de Tokyo, Paris Group
2014Dernières Nouvelles de l‘EtherLa Panacée, Montpellier Group
2013Laurie Anderson: From the AirThe University of Michigan Museum of Art, Ann Arbor, MI Solo
2013Laurie Anderson, The Language of the Future Selected worksThe Anne & Gordon Samstag Museum of Art, Adelaide, SA Solo
2013The Other PortraitMuseo d'Arte Moderna e Contemporanea di Trento e Rovereto, Rovereto Group
2012Collected Stories: Books by Laurie AndersonHenry Art Gallery, University of Washington, Seattle, WA Solo
2012Laurie AndersonGlenbow Museum, Calgary, AB Solo
2012OurselvesAustralian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne, VIC Group
2012Body LanguageCentre culturel Suisse, Paris Group
2012Forever YoungGreenfield Sacks Gallery, Santa Monica, CA Group
2012A House Full Of MusicStrategien In Musik Und Kunst, Mathildenhöhe, Darmstadt Group
2012Postmodernismo. Stile e Sovversione 1970-1990Museo d'Arte Moderna e Contemporanea di Trento e Rovereto, Rovereto Group
2011Laurie Anderson: Forty-Nine Days in the BardoThe Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia, PA Solo
2011I in U Eu em TuCentro Cultural Banco do Brasil, Rio de Janeiro, RJ Solo
2011The Missing PeaceSan Antonio Museum of Art, San Antonio, TX Group
2011The Missing Peace: Artists Consider the Dalai LamaSan Antonio Museum of Art, San Antonio, TX Group
2011Pioneers of the Downtown Scene, New York 1970sBarbican Art Gallery, London Group
2010I in U Eu em TuCentro Cultural Banco do Brasil, Rio de Janeiro, RJ Solo
2010Armitage Gone Dance Exquisite Corpse ProjectKlemens Gasser & Tanja Grunert, Inc., New York City, NY Group
2010The Missing Peace: Artists Consider the Dalai LamaNobel Museum, Stockholm Group
2010THE RECORD Contemporary ART and VINYLDuke University, Durham, NC Group
2010The Missing Peace: Artists Consider the Dalai LamaThe National Brukenthal Museum, Sibiu Group
2010Queer VoiceUniversity of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA Group
2010Vinyl, disques et pochettes d’artistes, la collection Guy SchraeanenLa Maison Rouge, ParisGroup
2009Laurie AndersonLocation One, New York City, NY Solo
2005Laurie Anderson: The Waters ReglitterizedSean Kelly Gallery, New York City, NY Solo
2005Laurie Anderson: The Record of the TimeIrish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin Solo
2003The Record of the TimeLe opere sonore di Laurie Anderson, Padiglione d'Arte Contemporanea, Milan Solo
2003Laurie Anderson: The Record of the TimeMuseum Kunstpalast, Dusseldorf Solo
2002Laurie Anderson, The Record Of The TimeMusée d'Art Contemporain Lyon, Lyon Solo
1998Laurie Anderson: WhirlwindArtists Space, New York City, NY Solo
1998Laurie Anderson: LifeFondazione Prada, Milan Solo
1984Laurie Anderson: Works from 1969–1983Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, Houston, TX Solo
1983Laurie Anderson: Works from 1969–1983University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA Solo
1982Laurie Anderson: ArtworksInstitute of Contemporary Arts, London Solo
1978Laurie Anderson: Matrix 46The Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, CT Solo
1978Projects: Laurie AndersonMuseum of Modern Art, New York City, NY Solo
1978Laurie AndersonGalleries at Moore College of Art & Design, Philadelphia, PA Solo