Liza Lou  (American, 1969) 

Liza Lou (American, b.1969) is a Conceptual artist whose work is typically done in unlikely mediums, such as beads. Lou was born in New York, NY, to Bohemian turned born-again Christian parents. As a child, she moved to Minneapolis, MN, and grew up watching exorcisms and speaking in tongues.

On a summer trip in 1989 to view the cathedrals of Florence and Venice, Italy, she became enthralled with the mosaic artwork that adorned the walls and ceilings of the churches. While attending the San Francisco Art Institute in California, Lou walked into a bead store and found herself far more interested in beads than paint. She began incorporating beads into her artwork, much to the chagrin of her teachers and classmates. Lou eventually left the Art Institute and began to work on what is known as her breakout piece, Kitchen (1995). The piece is a 168 square foot replica of a complete kitchen covered in beads. Lou hoped to take something mundane and boring, such as a kitchen, and transform it into something beautiful to rejoice over. The work was noticed by Marcia Tucker (American, 1940–2006), the director of the New Museum in New York, and she invited Lou to show her work in 1996. The sale of Kitchen enabled Lou to complete her second major piece, Backyard, in 1996. In this work, Lou used her unconventional medium as a way to make a painting touchable, as if one could step into it. The piece is a 525 square foot replica of a backyard created with multitudes of beads.

In the 21st-century, Lou's work has taken a decidedly political turn, and she has dabbled in Performance Art. Liza Lou was awarded the MacArthur "genius" fellowship in 2002. One of her most popular pieces was a performance piece entitled Born Again, in which she recreates a series of moments from a fundamentalist Christian childhood. At one point, she plays a six year old who has been abused by her father. Lou began to work on the piece in 2001, and it was first performed at Les Deux Cafes in Los Angeles, CA. She has since included a video version in many of her shows. Lou currently works and resides in both Los Angeles, CA, and KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. In South Africa, she works alongside 30 members of a Zulu tribe on her pieces. Her works can be found in several museums, including The Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, NY, the Cleveland Museum of Art in Cleveland, OH, and the Honart Museum in Tehran, Iran. Lou's work also appears in several books, catalogues, and galleries.

Find Liza Lou artworks for sale worldwide, artworks that sold at auction, a detailed biography, and more information on the artist below.
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Artworks for sale (11)
In Art Galleries (11)
Dealers selling (6)

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In Past Auctions (33)

Exhibitions (3)

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Liza Lou, The Worshipper


Liza Lou
The Worshipper

Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac
Liza Lou, The Damned


Liza Lou
The Damned

Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac
Liza Lou, Lightbulb


Liza Lou

Dranoff Fine Art
Liza Lou, Cell


Liza Lou

White Cube
Liza Lou, Continuous Mile


Liza Lou
Continuous Mile

White Cube
Liza Lou, Roll


Liza Lou

White Cube
Liza Lou, Roll


Liza Lou

White Cube
Liza Lou, Continuous Mile


Liza Lou
Continuous Mile

White Cube
Liza Lou, Conditions of Capture


Liza Lou
Conditions of Capture

Mnuchin Gallery
Past auction results (33)  View All
Liza Lou, Security Fence


Liza Lou
Security Fence, 2005
steel, razor wire, glass beads


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Liza Lou, Cup and Saucer (2 parts)


Liza Lou
Cup and Saucer (2 parts), 1999
polyester, resin and glass beads


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Liza Lou, The Worshipper (in 2 parts)


Liza Lou
The Worshipper (in 2 parts), 2004
quartz crystal and resin


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1969   Born in New York City
2002   John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Fellowship
2005   Pew Charitable Trust, Philadelphia Exhibitions Initiative Grant
  Lives and works in Los Angeles, CA and KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
2011   Liza Lou, L&M Arts. Los Angeles, CA (solo)
2011   January White Sale, DeWoody, Beth Rudin, curator, Loretta Howard Gallery. New York, NY
2011   Invitational Exhibition of Visual Arts, Academy of Arts and Letters. New York, NY
2010 - 2011   The Artist's Museum, Morse, Rebecca, Jeffrey Deitch, Lisa Gabrielle Mark, Alma Ruiz and Bennett Simpson, curator, Museum of Contemporary Art. Los Angeles, CA
2010 - 2011   Now What?, Brutvan, Cheryl and Charlie Stainback, curator, Norton Museum of Art. West Palm Beach, FL
2009 - 2011   Lila Acheson Wallace Wing for Modern and Contemporary Art ('Continuous Mile'), Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, NY
2010   Selections from the Permanent Collection, Cleveland Museum of Art. Cleveland, OH
2010   Skin Fruit: Selections from the Dakis Joannou Collection, Koons, Jeff, curator, New Museum. New York, NY
2010   Kupferstichkabinett: Between Thought and Action, May, Susan, curator, White Cube Gallery. London, United Kingdom
2010   Lust for Life and Dance of Death, Olbricht Collection, Kunsthalle Krems, Schoppmann, Wolfgang and Hans-Peter Wipplinger, curator, Krems, Austria
2010   Make: Craft, Ben Maltz Gallery, Otis College of Art and Design, Watts, Patricia, curator, Los Angeles, CA
2010   American Idol Works from 1995-2010, Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac. Paris, France (solo)
2010   Liza Lou Drawings, Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac. Paris, France (solo)
2009   Innovations in the Third Dimension: Sculpture of Our Time, Bruce Museum. Greenwich, CT
2008 - 2009   Diana + Actaeon: The Forbidden Glimpse of the Naked Body, Museum Kunst Palast. Düsseldorf, Germany
2008 - 2009   Bizarre Perfection, Israel Museum. Jerusalem, Israel
2008   In the Land of Retinal Delights, Linton, Meg, curator, Laguna Art Museum. Laguna, CA
2008   Liza Lou, L&M Arts. New York, NY (solo)
2008   Liza Lou: Maximum Security, Lever House Lobby Gallery. New York, NY (solo)
2007 - 2008   The Complexity of the Simple, L&M Arts. New York, NY
2007   Rockers Island: Olbricht Collection, Museum Folkwang Essen. Essen, Germany
2007   Exposures: the Contemporary Self-Portrait, Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac. Salzburg, Austria
2007   The Death Instinct, The Haifa Museum of Art. Haifa, Israel
2006 - 2007   Transitional Objects: Contemporary Still Life, Young, Dede, curator, Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase College, State University of New York. Purchase, NY
2006   Collection of the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo. Metropolitan Kiba Park, Tokyo, Japan
2006   White Cube, London, United Kingdom (solo)
2005   Translation, Palais de Tokyo in conjunction with the Deste Foundation for Contemporary Art, Paris, France
2004   Splat, Boom, Pow; Cartoons in Contemporary Art (traveling exhibition)
2004   Contemporary Art Museum, Houston, TX; ICA, Boston; Wexner Center for the Arts, OH
2004   Smith College Art Museum, Undomesticated Interiors, Northampton, MA
2004   San Jose Museum of Art, Domestic Odyssey, San Jose, CA
2004   Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Paris (solo)
2003   Galerie Thaddaeaus Ropac, Perpetual Bliss, Paris France
2003   Skulptur03, Max Gandolph-BIbliothek, Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Salzburg, Austria
2003   Boijmans Museum, Shine, Rotterdam, Holland (catalogue)
2002   Melodrama, (traveling exhibition) Centro-Museo Vasco de Arte Contemporaneo, Basque
2002   Palacio de los Condes de Gabia/Centro Jose Guerrero, Granada, Spain
2002   Deitch Projects, Testimony , New York, NY (solo)
2002   Museum Kunst Palast, Düsseldorf, Germany (solo)
2002   Henie Oslo Kunstsenter, Oslo, Norway (catalogue) (solo)
2001   Bass Museum of Art, Liza Lou II, Miami, FL (solo)
2001   Southeastern Contemporary Art Center, Trailer, Winston-Salem, NC (solo)
2000   Renwick Gallery, Smithsonian Institution of American Art, Washington DC (solo)
2000   Akron Art Museum, Liza Lou, Akron, OH (solo)
1999   Grand Central Terminal, American Glamorama, Vanderbilt Hall, New York, NY (solo)
1999   Contemporary Arts Center, Kitchen, Cincinnati, OH (solo)
1999   Contemporary Arts Center of Virginia, American Presidents , Virginia Beach, VA (solo)
1998   University of Wyoming Art Museum, Kitchen, Laramie, WY (solo)
1998   Aspen Art Museum, Portrait Gallery, Aspen, CO (solo)
1998   Santa Monica Museum of Art, Kitchen and Back Yard, Santa Monica, CA (catalogue) (solo)
1998   Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas, City, MI (solo)
  Brant Foundation, Greenwich, CT
  Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH
  Deste Foundation Centre For Contemporary Art, Athens, Greece
  Fondation Cartier pour l'art Contemporain, Paris, France
  François Pinault Foundation, Palazzo Grassi, Venice, Italy
  Fundación Privada Sorigué, Lleida, Spain
  Fundación/Colección Jumex, Mexico City, Mexico
  Honart Museum. Tehran, Iran
  Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY
  Thomas Olbricht Collection, me Collectors Room, Berlin, Germany
  Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY
2011    Heartney, Eleanor, Arthur Lubow, Peter Schjedahl, and Lawrence Weschler; Isabel Venero, ed. Liza Lou. New York: Skira Rizzoli Publications, Inc. 2001
2011    Prose, Francine and Michael Duncan, texts. Liza Lou. Los Angeles, California: L&M Arts, 2011
2010    Diederichsen, Diedrich and Christoph Doswald, texts. Liza Lou: American Idol. Paris, France: Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, 2010
2008    Pincus-Witten, Robert and Linda Nochlin. Liza Lou. New York: L&M Arts, 2008
2006    Marlow, Tim and Jeanette Winterson. Liza Lou. London: White Cube, 2006