My work follows in the tradition of history and narrative painting documenting current and fictitious events using myth and allegory. Voyeurism, a longing to 'be someplace else’ and a sense of places and events remembered are recurring themes. Humor is the catalyst and a bridge to darker, more troubling issues. In my youth I wanted to make paintings people would gag and cry in front of until I saw two women doubled-up laughing in front of my work. At an opening at PS1 in New York, years ago, Joyce Kosloff commented, “God, lulu, your work is so American!” I strive for that precarious line between the colloquial and the sublime, perhaps in order to sabotage both extremes, but more often just to see if I can pull it off.
My live-work studio is in the Emeryville Artist’s Co-op. I have exhibited, taught and lectured throughout the United States. Since 1993 I have lead fourteen ‘Art Lover’s Tours’ to Europe (most often, Italy). I was awarded two National Endowment for the Arts Grants, the Fleishhacker Foundation ‘Eureka’ Grant, two Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Grants, the Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant 2014 and this year the Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship.
1970s – Bay Area Feminist Recollections
In 1971, two years after grad school I joined a women's consciousness raising group after reading Doris Lessing's, 'The Golden Notebook'. Our group of 9 artists met Wed nights from 6:30 til 1 or 2am for five years. The first few months we spent bitching about our boyfriends, the art world and our second-class status. Joyce Kozloff visited us from New York and gave us the Consiousness Raising Rules which set us on a more productive tract. Sharing our life stories, building trust, then sharing our art we traded skills photographing our work, writing resumes and lecturing in public. We teamed up with other groups for monthly meetings to start new groups and put together a Northern California Slide Registry that was housed at San Franciso Art Institute. Our group was invited by Rita Yokoi and Judy Chicago to talk to the new Women’s Program at Fresno State. Later Judy and Miriam Shapiro visited our studios and were impressed by our frank authentic narratives and invited us to present the slide registry at the now famous West Coast Womens’ Artist Conference at California Institute of the Arts in Valencia. I will never forget walking up the steps of ‘Woman House’ with klieg lights blazing and thinking my life was about to change. Each room in the house had been transformed by students in the Cal Arts Feminists Program. Later we saw performance pieces that are now etched in history. During the three days we heard lectures, gathered in small discussion groups and shared our work. The SF slide registry brought down the house and we were asked to repeat the presentation.
Another important Feminist Action was the ‘Berkeley Proposal’ presented to the University Art Museum in response to their abyssmal exhibition record. And in San Francisco, during the College Art Association Conference, the Women’s Caucus for Art was formed. I was honored to be in the room for this historic first meeting. Our local womens groups began to splinter as we moved out of the area to teach, many of us part-time sebbatical replacements. It was still difficult to land tenure-track positions.