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Laurie Anderson

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Glen Ellyn, Illinois, United States (1947 – present)

Laurie Anderson is an American performance artist, visual artist and musician. Regardless of the medium, a common characteristic of all her work seems to be the act of storytelling.

Laura Phillips Anderson was born June 5, 1947, in Glen Ellyn, Illinois, United States. She attended Mills College in California, and eventually graduated from Barnard College magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, studying art history. In 1972, she obtained an MFA in sculpture from Columbia University.

She performed in New York through the 1970s. Two early pieces, “New York Social Life” and “Time To Go,” were included in the 1977 compilation New Music for Electronic and Recorded Media, along with works by Pauline Oliveros and others.

She became more widely known in 1982 with the single “O Superman,” originally released in a limited quantity by One Ten Records; a sudden influx of orders from the U.K. (prompted by British DJ John Peel playing the record) led to Anderson signing with the Warner Brothers label, which re-released the single. “O Superman” reached number two on the national charts in Britain.

O Superman” was part of a larger stage work entitled United States and was included on her following album, Big Science. Her more recent stage work includes a multimedia presentation inspired by Moby Dick. She starred in and directed the 1986 concert film, Home of the Brave, and also composed the soundtracks for the Spalding Gray films Swimming to Cambodia and Monster in a Box. All of Anderson’s albums from the 1980s sold very well despite being labeled “”.

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