The Artist Birthday Series

Laurie Anderson

Laurie Anderson performing in 1970
Laurie Anderson performing in 1970

Her first performance-art piece—a symphony played on automobile horns—was performed in 1969. In 1970, she drew the underground comix Baloney Moccasins, which was published by George DiCaprio. In the early 1970s, she worked as an art instructor, as an art critic for magazines such as Artforum, and illustrated children’s books—the first of which was titled The Package, a mystery story in pictures alone.

First edition of "Baloney Moccasins,"
First edition of “Baloney Moccasins,” illustrated by Laurie Anderson and published by George DiCaprio

Throughout the 1970s, Anderson did a variety of different performance-art activities. One of her most-cited performances, Duets on Ice, which she conducted in New York and other cities around the world, involved her playing the violin along with a recording while wearing ice skates with the blades frozen into a block of ice; the performance ended only when the ice had melted away.

Laurie Anderson performs "Duets On Ice," in New York City, 1975
Laurie Anderson performs “Duets On Ice,” in New York City, 1975

During the late 1970s, Anderson made a number of additional recordings that were released either privately or included on compilations of avant-garde music, most notably releases by the Giorno Poetry Systems label run by New York poet John Giorno, an early intimate of Andy Warhol. Among the Giorno-released recordings was You’re the Guy I Want to Share My Money With, a double-album shared with Giorno and William Burroughs The original release was on vinyl, and had one LP side for each artist, with the fourth side triple-grooved, one for each, so the listener would hear a different track, depending on the position of the needle. “Born, Never Asked,” was one of Anderson’s contributions.

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