Laurie Anderson

Laurie Anderson, All Things Fractured: Lola in the Night Sky, 2011. Aluminum and light. 8 x 14 feet. Photo credit: Carlos Avendaño.

Forty-Nine Days in the Bardo is a multimedia body of work by internationally renowned performance artist Laurie Anderson, which makes its debut at The Fabric Workshop and Museum (FWM). Using the structure of a diary and The Tibetan Book of the Dead—also known as The Great Liberation Through Hearing in the Bardo—this exhibition explores the themes of love and death, the many levels of dreaming, and illusion. The installations include texts, as well as drawings, sculptures, projections, and sound, and are made from materials including mud, foil, iron, chalk, and ashes. 

In The Tibetan Book of the Dead, also known as The Great Liberation Through Hearing in the Bardo, the bardo is described as the forty-nine day period between death and rebirth. The book is a detailed description of the way the mind dissolves and what the spirit experi­ences in this transition. In April 2011, Lolabelle, my small rat terrier died after a long illness. For twelve years she had been my constant and faithful companion. Counting the forty-nine days from Lolabelle’s death, I realized according to The Tibetan Book of the Dead Lolabelle would be reborn on June 5, my birthday.

— Laurie Anderson 

Artist Bio

American, born 1947, lives in New York. 

Recognized as a seminal artist of our time, Laurie Anderson emerged in downtown New York in the 1970s—a period of expression in opposition to political, economic, and social conventions—performing and exhibiting her works in alternative art settings. Over the course of thirty years, Anderson has distinguished herself as a multifaceted artist, who addresses life, politics, social issues, and technology through her use of spoken word and storytelling. In her theatrical performance, she integrates projected film and video, photography, graphics, sculpture, and electronic and instrumental music. In 2019 Anderson earned a Grammy for her chamber collaboration with Kronos Quartet.