Continuous Mile

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Object Name: 
Continuous Mile
Accession Number: 
Overall H: about 80 cm, Diam (max): about 140 cm
On Display
Credit Line: 
Purchased with special funds provided by Corning Incorporated in honor of the opening of the Contemporary Art + Design Wing, March 2015
Web Description: 
Edition 2/2 (black). Continuous Mile took Liza Lou longer than a year to make with a team of more than 50 beadworkers from several townships in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. The monumental sculpture is composed of a coiled and stacked cotton rope, measuring a mile in length, sewn with more than 4.5 million glossy black glass beads. It is a work about work, about process, about finding meaning in the everyday, and about managing many hands to create something that could not be made by one person alone. Continuous Mile was produced in an edition of two in black, and an edition of two in white. Based in Los Angeles, Liza Lou emerged as a presence in the art world in 1996 with an exhibition at the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York, of Kitchen, a sculptural tableau utilizing millions of beads, which took five years for her, working alone, to make. Architectural in scale, Kitchen introduced some of Lou’s recurring themes: labor, confinement, and human endurance. Her meticulous placement of individual beads and the scale of the project represent a heroic effort that honors centuries of uncelebrated women’s work. In 2002, Lou received a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Fellowship. With the goal of developing an economically sustainable project, she moved her studio in 2005 to Durban, South Africa, where she assembled a team of Zulu women, all skilled beadworkers, to enable her to continue creating her labor-intensive art works. She has explored diverse subjects throughout her career, beading a prison cell, a closet, representations of deities, portraits of the American presidents, a trailer, prayer rugs, images of Adam and Eve, a security fence rimmed in razor wire, a toilet, and a noose, all in life-size scale. Unsigned. Published: Eleanor Heartney and others, Liza Lou, New York: Skira/Rizzoli, 2011, pp. 218–221. The artist’s collaboration with South African beadworkers is described in her catalog Durban Diaries, London: White Cube, 2012. See also; and “A Conversation between Liza Lou, Contemporary Sculptor and Installation Artist, and Tina Oldknow, Curator of Modern Glass,” posted October 17, 2013: www.cmog .org/article/conversation-between-liza-lou-contemporary -sculptor-and-installation-artist-and-tina-oldknow.
White Cube, Source
Primary Description: 
Sculpture, "Continuous Mile". Black glass beads, thread; sewn. Black glass beads sewn onto a continuous mile-long cotton rope that is coiled into a circle.
Corning Museum of Glass Calendar (2015) illustrated, cover; BIB# AI98718
Recent Important Acquisitions (New Glass Review 35) (2014) illustrated, p. 116, middle; BIB# AI98393
The Corning Museum of Glass: Notable Acquisitions 2013 (2014) illustrated, pp. 62-63 (#42); table of contents;
Recent Acquisitions (2013) illustrated, cover; p. 16; BIB# AI95664
Liza Lou (2011) illustrated, pp. 6-7, 218-221; BIB# 134584