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 band, performing music from Life on a String. She has also presented many solo works, including Happiness, which premiered in 2001 and toured internationally through Spring 2003.
Anderson has published six books. 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 Brittanica.
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 included
installation, audio, instruments, video and art objects and spans Anderson’s career from the 1970's to her
most current works. It continued to tour internationally from 2003 to 2005. As a visual artist, Anderson is represented by the Sean Kelly Gallery in New York where her exhibition, The Waters Reglitterized, opened in September 2005.
As a 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 most recent
orchestra work Songs for A.E. premiered at Carnegie Hall in February 2000 performed by the American Composers Orchestra and later toured Europe with the Stuttgart Chamber 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 as well as grants from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.
In 2002, Anderson was appointed the first artist-in-residence of NASA out of which she developed her solo performance “The End of the Moon” which premiered in 2004 and toured internationally through 2006. Other
recent projects include a commission to create a series of audio-visual installations and a high definition film, Hidden Inside Mountains, for the World Expo 2005 in Aichi, Japan and a series of programs for French radio called “Rien dans les Poches/Nothing in my Pockets”. Her score for Trisha Brown’s acclaimed piece “O Composite” premiered at the Opera Garnier in Paris in December 2004. Anderson was also part of the team
that created the opening ceremony for the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. In 2006 she worked on a series of documented walks, a new album for Nonesuch Records, “Homeland”, and an accompanying touring performance. Anderson lives in New York City.
In February 2010, Laurie Anderson premiered a new theatrical work, entitled Delusion, at the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games. This piece was commissioned by the Vancouver 2010 Cultural Olympiad and the Barbican Centre, London. Anderson was honored with the Women's Project Theater Woman of Achievement Award in March 2010. In May/June 2010, Anderson curated the Vivid Live festival in Sydney, Australia together with Lou Reed. Her new album Homeland was released on June 22. She performed "Only an Expert" on July 15, 2010 on the Late Show with David Letterman, and her song "Gravity's Angel" was featured on the Fox TV show So You Think You Can Dance the same day.
She appears as a guest musician on several tracks from experimental jazz musician Colin Stetson's 2011 album New History Warfare Vol. 2: Judges. Anderson developed a theatrical work, entitled "Another Day in America". The first public showings of this work-in-progress took place in Calgary, Alberta in January 2012 as part of Theatre Junction GRAND's 2011–12 season and One Yellow Rabbit's annual arts festival, the High Performance Rodeo. Anderson was named the Inaugural Distinguished Artist-In-Residence at The Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center(EMPAC)at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York in May 2012.
Anderson received the Honorary Doctor of Arts from the Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture in 2013. In June/July 2013, Anderson performed "The Language of the Future" and guest curate at the River to River Festival in New York City. In November 2013 she was the featured Guest of Honor at the B3 Biennale of the Moving Image in Frankfurt, Germany. In July 2016 she was named as a member of the main competition jury for the 73rd Venice International Film Festival.