Skip to main content

Liza Lou

Kitchen
1991–1996

On view
Floor 6

Date
1991–1996

Classification
Installations

Medium
Beads, plaster, wood and found objects

Dimensions
Overall: 96 × 132 × 168in. (243.8 × 335.3 × 426.7 cm)

Accession number
2008.339a-x

Credit line
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; gift of Peter Norton

Rights and reproductions
© Liza Lou

A full-scale and exactingly detailed kitchen encrusted in a rainbow of glistening beads, Liza Lou’s monumental installation took five years to make. After researching kitchen design manuals as well as historical tracts about the lives of nineteenth-century women, Lou made drawings and three-dimensional models to achieve a loose outline of Kitchen’s floor plan. She then fashioned the objects out of paper mâché, painted them, and applied the beads in a mosaic of surface pattern. This work, in Lou’s words, “argues for the dignity of labor”—a labor that here manifests as process and subject alike, and which is linked to gender, since crafts and kitchen work are traditionally female domains. Kitchen might also be read as a commentary on American life—even the American dream—with its ubiquitous products (Tide and Cap’N Crunch), aspirations (glittery surfaces and suburban assimilation), and realities (dishes in the sink and other kitchen drudgery). 





Sunrise

Sunset

A 30-second online art project:
Ryan Kuo, Hateful Little Thing

Learn more

All visitors aged 12 and older must show proof they have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine for admission to the Whitney, in accordance with NYC requirements. Visitors aged 18 and older will also be asked to show photo ID. Face coverings are required for all visitors. Learn more about the Whitney’s safety guidelines.