By the time most of us see an artwork, it’s “finished” and ready for the world to view. What we often don’t see is what the work went through to reach its final state. What was the initial idea? What did the first draft look like? How and why did it evolve to what it looks like now? Does it live up to the artist’s vision? What was it like to produce a major exhibition during a global pandemic?
Critically acclaimed artist, writer and perfomer Laurie Anderson has a constantly changing relationship with process in its many forms—from drawing sketches of video installations, to improvising large-scale wall paintings, to generating and editing language with artificial intelligence.
Anderson joined Hirshhorn curator Marina Isgro to explore the artist’s process and talk through the evolution of some of her biggest projects to date, many featured in The Weather
“I’m much more of a map person, to see how things relate to each other. Eventually I think it does help to have an overall shape and how you feel at the end is really important to me. But I don’t know that at the beginning, so I prefer to make a map and see how things push against each other.” – Laurie Anderson on the making of Chalkroom for On Virtual Realities: Artist Talk with Laurie Anderson and Hsin-Chien Huang
ABOUT THE ARTIST
As a Grammy Award-winning musician, performer, writer, and artist, Laurie 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, New York; SoHo, New York; and extensively in Europe, including the Centre 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.
Image credit: Portrait of Laurie Anderson. 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