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Michele Fricke

(b New York City, 1969).

American conceptual and installation artist, active also in South Africa. Lou studied painting at the San Francisco Art Institute, where her interest in working with beads was not well received by her professors or peers. She withdrew from the school in 1990 and moved to Los Angeles where she began making her iconic work Kitchen (1991–6), adhering beads to ready-made and constructed surfaces and objects. The work received enormous attention and inaugurated her career.

Kitchen, a life-sized work of astonishing ambition, was first shown at the New Museum in New York in an exhibition entitled Labor of Love. Intended as a monument to women’s work, every surface and object of Kitchen was encrusted in beads, each one applied by Lou alone. The banality of the household items recalls the Pop sensibilities of Andy Warhol and Claes Oldenburg. In subsequent works, objects from popular culture continue to appear. Backyard...