Laurie Anderson Hon RA (b. 1947)

Laurie Anderson is one of America’s most renowned and daring creative pioneers. Best known for her multimedia presentations, innovative use of technology and first-person style, she is a writer, director, visual artist and vocalist who has created groundbreaking works that span the worlds of art, theatre, and experimental music.

Her recording career, launched by O Superman in 1981, includes Big Science (1982), the soundtrack to her feature film Home of the Brave (1986) Strange Angels (1989) Life on a String (2001) Homeland (2008) and Landfall(2018), a work commissioned by Kronos Quartet and inspired by the devastating effects of Hurricane Sandy. Other recordings include numerous works for radio and her upcoming podcast. She has performed music and toured worldwide with many of her own groups and bands and composed orchestral works It’s Cold Outside (1982) and Songs for A.E. for the American Composers Orchestra (2000) and the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra conducted by Dennis Russell Davies.

Anderson’s live shows range from spoken-word works to multi- faceted multimedia stage performances, such as United States Parts 1-4 (1982) Stories from the Nerve Bible (1992) Songs and Stories for Moby Dick (1999) Delusion (2010) and Language of the Future (2017).

In 2002, Anderson was appointed the first artist-in-residence of NASA, which culminated in her 2004 solo performance The End of the Moon, the second in a series of three “story” performances along with Happiness (2001) and Dirtday (2012), all of which toured extensively internationally.

Anderson has published eight books. Her most recent release, All The Things I Lost In The Flood (Rizzoli), is a series of essays about pictures, language and codes. She is currently writing and compiling The Art of the Straight Line, a series of essays and interviews about tai chi in the work of her late husband Lou Reed, who she lived with and collaborated with for 21 years.

Anderson’s visual work has been presented in museums around the world. Major audio-visual installations include The Record of the Time - Sound in the Work of Laurie Anderson (2003) which toured five museums and featured many of the electronic instruments she designed, beginning with her start as a sculptor through her work as a composer. Other exhibitions include World Expo 2005 in Aichi, Japan, a major retrospective of her visual and installation work in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro (2010) and Habeas Corpus (2015) a collaboration with Guantanamo detainee Mohammed el Gharani at the Park Avenue Armory in New York City, for which she was awarded, for the second time, Yoko Ono’s “Courage Award for the Arts”.

Anderson’s films include numerous music videos and installation works as well as Carmen (1992), the high-definition Hidden Inside Mountains (2005) and Arte-commissioned Heart of a Dog (2015) which was chosen as an official selection of the 2015 Venice and Toronto Film Festivals.

Her series of paintings Forty-Nine Days In the Bardo and film-sculptures Iron Mountain have been exhibited widely. She has been an artist-in-residence at many places, among them Princeton Atelier (2008) and at EMPAC in Troy, New York from (2012-2015) as Distinguished Artist in Residence. She has received numerous honorary doctorates and awards, including the Guggenheim Fellowship (1982) and the Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize (2007) and continues to experiment with many different forms and contexts for her work.

In 2017 Anderson joined four other artists in Mass MoCA’s Building 6 inaugurating a 15-year rotating exhibition of work. Anderson will show pieces from her archive as well as new work. Included in the first exhibition cycle are her virtual reality collaborations with Hsin-Chien Huang Chalkroom and Aloft.Chalkroom has been featured in film festivals all over the world including the Venice Film Festival, where it won the award for Best VR Experience under its Italian title La Camera Insabbiata.

Anderson continues to tour her evolving performance Language of the Future and has recently collaborated with Christian McBride, Brian Eno and Philip Glass on several performance projects, as well as improvising with Bill Laswell and John Zorn.

As an activist Anderson has participated in many groups including Women’s Action Coalition, Occupy Art. She continues to work with the activist group “The Federation” which she co-founded in 2017. She lives and works in New York.


Honorary RA

Born: 1947 in Glen Ellyn

Nationality: American

Elected Hon RA: 19 March 2018

Gender: Female

Preferred media: Performance and Film making