There’s a flashlight waiting just outside the elevator doors for visitors to the Fabric Workshop and Museum’s seventh-floor gallery. The torch is necessary to navigate the almost pitch-black room, but also adds to the feeling of discovery one makes when walking into Laurie Anderson’s “Iron Mountain.” Throughout the space are tiny video projections cast onto tiny clay figurines, making for an unnerving sense of realism.
“I’m happy to say that it’s virtually impossible to photograph this piece,” Anderson writes in her notes on the exhibition. “For me, it’s proof that certain art just has to be experienced with the body.”
Anderson, who will perform at the museum on Oct. 13, has blended genres and disciplines in a distinctly idiosyncratic way since emerging from New York’s downtown scene in the late ’70s and achieving a measure of popular success with her song “O Superman.”
One floor above “Iron Mountain,” Anderson’s newest work, “Forty-Nine Days in the Bardo,” combines the epic with the intimate. Inspired by her dog Lolabelle’s death on Palm Sunday, 10 enormous charcoal drawings trace the pet’s path through the bardo, the period between life and death described by the Tibetan Book of the Dead.
The piece, she says, “is not just about love but also loss, like music, which is often about regret.”