Laurie Anderson’s Ever Increasing Artistic Landscape

The main building of the School of Visual Arts...
The main building of the School of Visual Arts on East 23rd Street in Manhattan, New York City. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Laurie Anderson continues to break through to new plateaus in the artistic landscape where art meets technology defined by minimalism and expression.

I recall that in the early 80s I was just beginning my 30 year technology career as a programmer/analyst. I was looking for new musical horizons and intellectual influences. Laurie Anderson hit the music scene with “O Superman” and her début recording, Big Science. My music psyche gained a new dimensional level with the sounds and textures she created on our behalf

Big Science (reissue) cover art

I am impassioned to learn that Laurie Anderson was  the commencement speaker for the School of Visual Arts Class of 2012  which took place at Radio City Music Hall today. It wasn’t that long ago that our son, Matthew graduated from SVA(2008) as a graphics design major. His commencement was also held at Radio City Music Hall.

Her companion project is an art exhibition coördinated with the School of Visual Arts and Vito Schnabel. This will be the first exhibition of the Laurie Anderson’s paintings in New York. On display will be a new series of paintings that bring the scale of the theater onto the canvas. I hope we can get down to NYC to see her visual art on display.

MAY 12 – JUNE 23, 2012

Painting is like improvising in music. Making these big gestures feels like playing the violin. So many of my projects lately have become screen based or extremely theoretical. I wanted the physicality and scale of painting. Making paintings is the closest I’ve come to making songs. Even though they take up a lot of room I love them as unwieldy things. Much of my work comes from the theater world where sets are enormous. In fact, these paintings seem a bit on the small side.

Boat is based on the art project when Laurie Anderson stayed in A Room for London, a one-bedroom installation above the River Thames, from 24 – 25 March 2012. On the last night of her residency, she made a new sound piece, a radio show streamed live from the Room.

This week also brings another significant recognition of Anderson’s work: she has been named the first-ever distinguished artist-in-residence at EMPAC, the Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York. The residency provides Anderson with access to space, technology, and support for creative experimentation and brings her into ongoing dialogue with students and faculty at Rensselaer.

Laurie Anderson first came to EMPAC as a resident artist in 2009 to complete work on Delusion, a complex series of stories about longing, memory, and identity commissioned by the Vancouver 2010 Cultural Olympiad. Elements of the piece are featured in Anderson’s latest album,Homeland, released on Nonesuch Records in June 2010. At EMPAC, Anderson was able to try new ideas and integrate the diverse, multidisciplinary elements of the work, including music, visuals, altered voices, and electronic puppetry. Based on the success of the extensive working relationship between Anderson and EMPAC, founding Time-Based Arts Curator Kathleen Forde and Director Johannes Goebel proposed this new opportunity.

“It’s such a great honor to be the first distinguished artist-in-residence,” says Anderson. “Working with the crack technical and production teams and having access to EMPAC’s spectacular spaces and resources is such a dream. I’m incredibly grateful for this opportunity.”

Laurie Anderson, Delusion / Image: (c) Leland Brewster

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