MacArthur Fellows Program

Liza Lou

Installation Artist | Class of 2002

Creating large works of color and complexity that merge fine art and craft.

Installation Artist
Los Angeles, California
33 at time of award
Area of Focus
3-D Visual Art
Published September 25, 2002

About Liza's Work

Liza Lou is a young artist who creates luminous, colorful installation works that merge fine art and craft. Through years of long and meticulous labor, using hundreds of thousands of glass beads, Lou creates large-scale environmental works that turn familiar scenes into breathtaking spectacles of color and complexity. In creating her sculpture, she uses papier-mâché, fiberglass resin, wood, found materials, acrylic paint, and glass beads. Inspired by the mosaics in Italy’s basilicas, Lou spent five years creating her first major work, “Kitchen” (1995). This installation is a three-dimensional, life-size, 168-square-foot replica of a typical American kitchen of the 1950s. It includes a kitchen sink, a cherry pie cooling on an oven rack, and dust balls under the refrigerator, all entirely covered in brightly colored beads. In 1997, she created a bead-encrusted environment, “Back Yard,” covering 528 square feet and containing 250,000 blades of beaded grass in varying shades of green and yellow. Her bead installations are at once stunning works of art and commentary on popular American culture—suburban life and its materialism. With each work, Lou reconfigures elements of day-to-day life, creating easily recognized representations while obliging the viewer to reconsider these items from a fresh perspective.


Liza Lou attended the San Francisco Art Institute. She has had solo exhibits at the Santa Monica Museum of Art, the Bass Museum of Art, Miami, the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, and Fundacio Joan Miro, Centre d’Estudis d’Art Contemporani, Barcelona. Lou has participated in group exhibitions at the New Museum, New York City, Heinie Onstad Kunstenter, Norway, the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, and Fondation Cartier, Paris.

Select News Coverage of Liza Lou
November 8, 2015
"Liza Lou: Color Field and Solid Grey"
Neuberger Museum of Art
Liza Lou , 2002 MacArthur Fellow
July 20, 2013
"Connected In Color"
From the San Diego Union Tribune
Liza Lou, MacArthur Fellow, 2002

Photos for Download

High-resolution photos of MacArthur Fellows are available for download (right click and save), including use by media, in accordance with this copyright policy.

Please credit: John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

More Fellows

View All 2002 Fellows

Stay Informed
Sign up for periodic news updates and event invitations.
Connect with us on social media or view all of our social media content in one place.