Ira Melnick interviewed Laurie Anderson on his WRUV-FM radio program. Wow.
Laurie Anderson is one of today’s premier performance artists. Known primarily for her multimedia presentations, she has cast herself in roles as varied as visual artist, composer, poet, photographer, filmmaker, electronics whiz, vocalist, and instrumentalist.
O Superman launched Anderson’s recording career in 1980, rising to number two on the British pop charts and subsequently appearing on Big Science, the first of her seven albums on the Warner Brothers label. Other record releases include Mister Heartbreak, United States Live, Strange Angels, Bright Red, and the soundtrack to her feature film Home of the Brave. A deluxe box set of her Warner Brothers output, Talk Normal, was released in the fall of 2000 on Rhino/Warner Archives. In 2001, Anderson released her first record for Nonesuch Records, entitled Life on a String, which was followed by Live in New York, recorded at Town Hall in New York City in September 2001, and released in May 2002.
Anderson has toured the United States and internationally numerous times with shows ranging from simple spoken word performances to elaborate multimedia events. Major works include United States I-V (1983), Empty Places (1990), The Nerve Bible (1995), and Songs and Stories for Moby Dick, a multimedia stage performance based on the novel by Herman Melville. Songs and Stories for Moby Dick toured internationally throughout 1999 and 2000. In the fall of 2001, Anderson toured the United States and Europe with a three-person band, performing music from Life on a String. She has also presented many solo works, her most recent being Happiness, which premiered in 2001 and toured internationally through spring 2003.
Anderson has published six books, the most recent of which is Laurie Anderson by RoseLee Goldberg (Abrams, 2000), a retrospective of her visual work. Text from Anderson’s solo performances appears in the book Extreme Exposure, edited by Jo Bonney. She has also written the entry for New York for the Encyclopedia Britannica.
Laurie Anderson’s visual work has been presented in major museums throughout the United States and Europe. In 2003, The Musée Art Contemporain of Lyon in France produced a touring retrospective of her work, entitled The Record of the Time: Sound in the Work of Laurie Anderson. This retrospective encompasses installation, audio, video and art objects and spans Anderson’s career from the 1970's to her most current works. It will continue to tour through 2005. As a visual artist, Anderson is represented by the Sean Kelly Gallery in New York.
As composer, Anderson has contributed music to films by Wim Wenders and Jonathan Demme; dance pieces by Bill T. Jones, Trisha Brown, Molissa Fenley, and a score for Robert LePage’s theater production, Far Side of the Moon. She has created pieces for National Public Radio, The BBC, and Expo 92 in Seville. In 1997 she curated the two-week Meltdown Festival at Royal Festival Hall in London. Her orchestra work Songs for A.E. premiered at Carnegie Hall in February 2000, played by the American Composers Orchestra, conducted by Dennis Russell Davies.
Recognized worldwide as a groundbreaking leader in the use of technology in the arts, Anderson collaborated with Interval Research Corporation, a research and development laboratory founded by Paul Allen and David Liddle, in the exploration of new creative tools, including the Talking Stick. She created the introduction sequence for the first segment of the PBS special Art 21, a series about Art in the 21st century. Her awards include the 2001 Tenco Prize for Songwriting in San Remo, Italy and the 2001 Deutsche Schallplatten prize for Life On A String.
In 2002, Anderson was appointed the first artist-in-residence of NASA. Other current projects include a commission to create a series of audio-visual installations and a high definition film for the World Expo 2005 in Japan and a series of programs for French radio. She will premier her new score “O!” at the Opera Garnier in Paris in December ’04. She was also recently part of the team that created the opening ceremony for the Olympic Games in Athens. Her next project will involve a series of long walks. Anderson lives in New York City.
She is still extemely creative and active:
From the New York Times, Sept. 25, 2007
The performance artist Laurie Anderson has been named the winner of the 2007 Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize. She will receive about $300,000 and a silver medal in ceremonies at the Hudson Theater on Nov. 13. Recognizing outstanding talents in the arts, the prize, in its 14th year, is a legacy from the silent screen stars Dorothy and Lillian Gish, who were sisters. Lillian's will specified that it should be awarded annually to "a man or woman who has made an outstanding contribution to the beauty of the world and to mankind's enjoyment and understanding of life." Previous recipients include Ornette Coleman, Bill T. Jones, Lloyd Richards, Arthur Miller, Isabel Allende, Bob Dylan, Ingmar Bergman and Frank Gehry.
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