By Andrea K. Scott
Before craft gained indie cred—in a time without “makers” or Etsy—this American sculptor was beading her heart out. Lou established herself, in 1996, with a painstakingly lifelike and life-sized rendition of a lived-in kitchen (a pie in the oven, dirty dishes in the sink), which took millions of glass beads and five years to create. Two decades and one MacArthur Fellowship later, she makes her début with the gallery, at its new Tenth Avenue flagship. The subject is clouds—grids of them, which hang on the walls and function as gestural abstractions. (Paint and shattered beads are involved, to atmospheric effect.) The largest of these, originally shown at the Sydney Biennale, spans fifty feet. It’s impressive. Alas, smaller works here can suggest wan takes on Monet. Lou’s head may be in the clouds, but her feminist perspective on labor persists. For more than a decade, she has collaborated with a female collective of Zulu artisans in Durban, South Africa, a fair-trade twist on the centuries-long tradition of artists’ workshops.