Laurie Anderson

Laurie Anderson

Letter Exchange with JFK

“Dear Senator Kennedy. I really admire the way you’re running your campaign. I’m running for president of my student council, can you send me some tips?” Find out what the soon-to-be president John F. Kennedy replied to a young Laurie Anderson’s letter.

Acclaimed musician and performance artist Laurie Anderson was “just a young twerp” running for student council when she was advised by Senator Kennedy to “find out what the people want and promise it.” In this video she discusses her relationship to the late president, his politics and views on poetry and art: that poetry is the soul of the country and art is what makes us who we are. Neither before nor since, says Anderson, has an American president recognized poetry or art as the engine of society.

Anderson’s exchange with JFK became integral to her on-going multimedia work ‘The Language of the Future’, an exploration of the artist’s memories of Jack Kennedy and the American narrative. The latest chapter, entitled ’Letters to Jack’, was presented at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington on the occasion of the forthcoming 100th birthday of President Kennedy.

Laurie Anderson (b. 1947) is an internationally renowned experimental performance artist, composer, musician and film director, based in New York. Initially trained as a sculptor, Anderson became widely known outside the art world with her single ‘O Superman’, which reached number two in the UK pop charts in 1981. She is considered a pioneer of electronic music and is praised for her unique spoken word albums and multimedia art pieces. Among her most recent work is the film ‘Heart of a Dog’ (2015). For more about Anderson see: www.laurieanderson.com/

Laurie Anderson was interviewed by Christian Lund at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Denmark in May 2016.

Camera: Rasmus Quistgaard
Edited by: Klaus Elmer Madsen
Produced by: Christian Lund
Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art

  • Paul Auster

    What Could Have Been

    “I don’t think there’s a human being alive who doesn’t reflect on what could have been.” Watch the great American novelist Paul Auster on the impact of the choices we make, the obsessive nature of writing and having reached the age of 70.

  • Bunny Rogers

    Mourning Youth

    Watch the praised artist Bunny Rogers (b. 1990) talk about creating autobiographical work that draws from memory and deals with her childhood by archiving her feelings from that time: “You can’t make objective art, it’s going to be subjective.”

  • Ed Atkins

    Something is Missing

    Ed Atkins is considered one of the most unsettling contemporary artists – as well as one of the most exciting. In this video, the young British artist shares how he works from written texts, and why melancholy is at the centre of his animated digital videos.

  • Louisa Gagliardi

    Longing for Something Else

    “Art is amazing because it’s in a way unnecessary, but extremely necessary as a testimony of its time.” Let us introduce you to a rising star of painting, Louisa Gagliardi, who creates her surreal work digitally and adds layers of paint to the printed image.

  • Hannah Levy

    A Design Purgatory

    “I wonder if the reason why people want to touch it is that they’re in some way attracted to it, or if they’re repulsed by it.” Meet the young artist Hannah Levy, who primarily makes sculptures combining curving steel forms with cast silicone.

  • Dora Budor

    Acting Things

    “I want to use art as a field where I can explore parallel scenarios.” Dora Budor makes complex sculptures and interactive installations inspired by cinematic metaverse and scientific research. Join us as we visit the young Croatian artist in her studio.

  • Ian Cheng

    A Portal to Infinity

    Watch Ian Cheng, a rising star on the art scene, talk about his trilogy of animated live simulation works – ‘Emissaries’ – which work like a never-ending video game in real time: “It was a process that was on-going as life is on-going.”

  • Yona Friedman

    Advice to the Young

    What piece of advice would a renowned 94-year-old architect offer young architects? Find out in this short video, where Yona Friedman argues that architects must always adapt to the context and work for the average user.

  • Jan Gehl

    How to Build a Good City

    “We now know that first, we form the cities, but then the cities form us.” Meet the 81-year-old Danish architect Jan Gehl, who for more than fifty years has focused on improving the quality of urban life by helping people “re-conquer the city.”

  • Beate Grimsrud

    Who You Are

    A common thread in Beate Grimsrud’s novels is her portrayal of offbeat characters. Find out how the Norwegian writer wishes to broaden the spectrum for normality by becoming “a ladder” for all voices: “I suppose my aim is to include the outsiders.”

  • Sambuichi

    Why Hiroshima Became Green Again

    Hiroshi Sambuichi – one of the leading green architects of our time – here reflects on his hometown Hiroshima and how “the power of nature” helped the landscape to restore so rapidly following the atomic bombings during World War II.

  • Michael Kvium

    Circus Europe

    “It’s a constant pleasure for me that I can get people so worked up.” Join us for a studio visit with painter Michael Kvium, particularly known for his characteristic figurative imagery. He here talks about addressing contemporary issues through his art.