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Auerbach, Lisa Annefree

American, 20th–21st century, female.

Active in Los Angeles.

Born 1967, in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Photographer, textile artist (knit), zine writer, publisher. Sociopolitical themes.

Lisa Anne Auerbach graduated with a BFA in photography from Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, New York in 1990 and went on to receive her MFA from the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California in 1994.

Upon completing her studies and losing access to a darkroom, Auerbach began knitting as an inexpensive and expressive medium. After attending a Cheap Trick concert she became envious of guitarist Rick Nielsen’s custom statement sweaters and decided she needed to make her own. This launched Auerbach’s career as a textile artist and she began making sweater-skirt combinations with sociopolitical statements across the front and back such as ‘When there is nothing left to burn / Set yourself on fire,’ ‘What’s all this talk of dying for revolution? / You have to live for it,’ and ‘My Jewish grandma is voting for Obama, is yours? / Chosen People Choose Obama.’

Throughout her career, Auerbach has also written and produced a number of self-publications inspired from her personal and daily experiences. For example, The Casual Observer was a collaboration with her co-worker, Daniel Marlos, while working at the Griffith Observatory in the photography department. This publication documented the daily life of the photography staff and grew to encompass contributions from staff members in different departments. It consists of nine issues. Another publication was developed after Auerbach began commuting via bike. She was continually answering questions concerning the traffic, distances, and routes and decided the enquirers would be better served through a journal documenting her experiences on her bike. In 2003, Saddlesore was created and ran until 2008.

Although she has found success in other mediums, Auerbach has continued to practice photography, often documenting underrepresented aspects of society such as small businesses, megachurches, and psychic readers’ storefronts. For her megachurch series, Auerbach combined her practice of photography and zine making to create the ‘Megazine’. These publications are 60 inches/152.4 centimetres tall and 38 inches/96.5 centimetres wide and were developed from a need to display the images of megachurches in a way that was less oppressive than hanging the large-scale photographs on a wall.

Auerbach’s work acts as a commentary on life in the 21st century representing many of the banal aspects of our society including domesticity, earning a living, commuting, and searching for spiritual truth. As she represents the everyday she also acknowledges that she resides in a politically divided society and often offers her own viewpoints.

Group Exhibitions

2009, Nine Lives, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles

2012, Funny, FLAG Art Foundation, New York

2014, Abstract America Today, Saatchi Collection, London

2015, Afghan Carpet Project, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles

2016, Cut, Fold, Recreate, Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati

2016, Wasteland, Mona Bismarch Center and Gallerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Paris

Solo Exhibitions

2008, Election Sweater Project, Aspen Art Museum, Aspen

2009, Take This Knitting Machine and Shove It, Nottingham Contemporary, Nottingham

2012, United We Stand, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles

2014, Spells, Gavlak Gallery, Los Angeles

Museum and Gallery Holdings

London (Saatchi Gal.): Crystal Energy (2014, merino wool stitched onto stretched linen); Oops! Toxic B.S. (2014, mannequin with merino wool); Find Your Inner Metal Voice (2011, merino wool stitched onto stretched linen)

Los Angeles (Los Angeles County MA): Take This Knitting Machine and Shove It (2009, Inkjet print)


  • Auerbach, Lisa Anne: Lisa Anne Auerbach,, artist’s website with images, descriptions of works, cv and news articles (accessed 28 Nov 2017).
  • Fogle, Douglas, and others: Creamier: Contemporary Art in Culture: 10 Curators, 100 Contemporary Artists, 10 Sources, Phaidon, London, 2010.
  • Chrisman-Campbell, Kimberly: ‘Lisa Anne Auerbach: Making Them Sweat’, Ornament, vol 36, no. 5, 2013.
  • Tinkler, Mamie: ‘Empress of Modest Propaganda’, Whitney Biennial 2014, exhibition catalogue, Museum of American Art, New York, 2014.