Laurie Anderson: Four Talks

Laurie Anderson Four Talks Installation view from Laurie Anderson: The Weather at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, 2021. Courtesy of the artist Photo by Ron Blunt

Laurie Anderson is one of the leading multimedia artists of our time, and her innovative work in performance, music, technology, and visual art has profoundly influenced popular culture for more than forty years. In 2021, as part of The Weather—her largest US exhibition to date– the Hirshhorn invited Anderson to create a new work on site. Anderson worked ten-hour days at the Museum for more than two weeks to paint directly on the walls and floors of this large gallery, covering nearly every inch with stories, song lyrics, jokes and commentary on current event. Painting in a stream-of-consciousness manner without preparatory sketches, she created an enveloping and intensely personal installation that takes visitors on a journey through her mind. The installation’s title, Four Talks (2021), refers to the four sculptures—a raven, a parrot, a canoe, and a shelf—at its center, each accompanying by a pithy story or text passage. Monumentally scaled, conceptually rich and visually captivating, Four Talks, currently on long-term view on the second floor outer represents a key achievement in Anderson’s career.

Anderson’s artwork is the subject of a Hirshhorn Eye video embedded in the museum’s award-winning self-guiding smartphone platform, designed to enrich Four Talks by inviting visitors to linger and hear from the artist herself. Everyone is invited to share their reflections with @Hirshhorn by tagging #Hirshhorn and @laurieandersonofficial.

The Weather was accompanied by a series of live performances by Anderson from January 2022 to August 2022. Curated by Marina Isgro, Robert and Arlene Kogod Secretarial Scholar, Associate Curator of Media and Performance Art, and Mark Beasley.

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Printed copies and a braille version are available at the museum.


As a Grammy Award-winning musician, performer, writer, and artist, Anderson has an international reputation as an artist who combines the traditions of the avant-garde with popular culture. Anderson’s theatrical works combine a variety of media, including performance, music, poetry, sculpture, opera, anthropological investigations, and linguistic games, to elicit emotional reactions. As a visual artist, Anderson has been shown at the Guggenheim Museum, SoHo, and extensively in Europe, including the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris. She has also released seven albums for Warner Brothers, including Big Science, featuring the song “O Superman,” which rose to No. 2 on the British pop charts. She is currently Charles Eliot Norton Professor of Poetry at Harvard University.



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Anderson’s Playlist


60 Minutes: Laurie Anderson The 60 Minutes Interview

The New York Times Magazine: Laurie Anderson Has a Message for Us Humans

The Washington Post: Laurie Anderson is why we have multimedia art. Her story comes full circle at the Hirshhorn.

BBC: The ‘heartbreakingly beautiful’ art of Laurie Anderson

No More Rulers: Laurie Anderson: Where Do We Start?