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