Working studio, archive, and exhibition venue opens in Building 6
NORTH ADAMS, MASSACHUSETTS — Laurie Anderson is one of today’s premier multimedia artists, known for casting herself in roles as varied as visual artist, composer, poet, photographer, filmmaker, vocalist, and instrumentalist. She was one of MASS MoCA's first artists-in-residence, and has returned to the museum many times to develop and discuss works-in-progress. In MASS MoCA's new Building 6, Anderson will activate an organic, multi-use space that is a working studio, audio archive, and exhibition venue, with Anderson’s voice and unique method storytelling running throughout.
The inaugural exhibitions will include a new virtual reality space, a listening studio, and an exhibition of large charcoal drawings of Anderson's beloved dog Lolabell (the subject of her film Heart of the Dog) in the Bardo (an intermediate state in Buddhist thought). The installation will also include a remake of Anderson's 1978 Handphone Table, a work based on bone conduction, where sound travels through the table, up the listener's arms, and into the head.
In 1980, the song “O Superman” launched Anderson’s recording career, rising to number two on the British pop charts. Since then, Anderson has toured internationally with works including United States I-V (1983), Empty Places (1990), The Nerve Bible (1995), Life on a String (2001), and Homeland (2008). A testament to Anderson’s adeptness at working across media, these works take the form of books or albums as well as performance pieces that incorporate film, slides, recorded audio, live music, and spoken word. Anderson has long been recognized as a groundbreaking leader in the use of technology in the arts, and has developed new musical instruments including the tape bow violin (in which the bow has been replaced with magnetic audio tape, and the bridge with a reader) and the Talking Stick (a 6-foot-long MIDI controller). As a composer, Anderson has contributed music to dance pieces by Bill T. Jones, Trisha Brown, and Molissa Fenley; Robert Lepage’s theater production Far Side of the Moon; and films by Wim Wenders and Jonathan Demme. She has released over a dozen solo albums and collaborations, with artists including William S. Burroughs, Brian Eno, Peter Gabriel, Philip Glass, Jean Michel Jarre, and Lou Reed.
Anderson has been awarded the Tenco Prize for Songwriting in San Remo, Italy (2001); the Deutsche Schallplatten prize for Life on a String (2001); the Gish Prize (2007); the Woman of Achievement Award from Women’s Project Theater (2010); the inaugural Distinguished Artist-in-Residence at EMPAC in Troy, New York (2012); and a residency at the Rauschenberg Foundation in Captiva, Florida (2015). In 2002, Anderson was appointed the first artist-in-residence of NASA. Her film Heart of a Dog was nominated for Best Documentary at the 31st Independent Spirit Awards and was shortlisted for the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. Solo exhibitions include the Musée d’Art Contemporain de Lyon, France (2003, touring).
About MASS MoCA
MASS MoCA is one of the world’s liveliest (and largest) centers for making and enjoying today’s most important art, music, dance, theater, film, and video.
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