Laurie Anderson

The celebrated performance artist discusses Andy Warhol, NASA and her work at McDonald’s

Avant-garde performance artist and pop icon Laurie Anderson. (Smithsonian American Art Museum)
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At the Smithsonian, you gave a lecture about Andy Warhol and his "Little Electric Chair" series. Why Warhol?
I feel like we are living in Andy's world now. It's the world that he defined in so many ways and his obsessions with fame and violence and ego. You just look around and go, "Wow, he was doing that 30 years ago!"

American culture was going that way and he nailed it. It's completely fascinating how he came up with those categories and American life became that way.

Why the electric chair?
I think for me it combines a lot of things. One was this idea of tabloid stuff. We don't allow images of people being electrocuted, for example. Another is the factory image, the multiple stuff, it's a kind of death factory. People pass through that and it involves technology as well in a way, it's the power of electricity....

Are you running out of time?
I am running out of time. My assistant is waving his hands, saying "You have to go now or you'll be dead!"


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