Lita Albuquerque is an internationally renowned installation, environmental artist, painter and sculptor. She has developed a visual language that brings the realities of time and space to a human scale and is acclaimed for her ephemeral and permanent art works executed in the landscape and public sites.
Albuquerque’s work questions our place in the enormity of infinite space and eternal time. Despite a rising flood of new data and interpretive theory, the most elemental concepts of an emerging scientific cosmology are simply not imbedded in everyday culture. Conversely, the meaning of this cosmology does not seem implicit in the science. Lita Albuquerque has not flinched from the scale of such a challenge. She is one of the rare artists and humanists who are responsible for thoughtfully and imaginatively placing the elemental concepts for a living, functional cosmology for 21st century culture within public consciousness.
She was born in Santa Monica, California and raised in Tunisia, North Africa and Paris, France. At the age of eleven she settled with her family in the U.S. In the 1970s Albuquerque emerged on the California art scene as part of the Light and Space movement and won acclaim for her epic and poetic ephemeral pigment pieces created for desert sites. She gained national attention in the late 1970s with her ephemeral pigment installations pertaining to mapping, identity and the cosmos, executed in the natural landscape.
In 1980 Albuquerque garnered international acclaim for her pivotal installation, The Washington Monument Project, as featured in the International Sculptural Conference. The recognition this work gained, led to awards and commissions at major sites around the world, including the Great Pyramids, where she represented the United States at the International Cairo Biennale with her installation and exhibition Sol Star which won the prestigious Cairo Biennale Prize.
Completing an ambitious array of public projects over the past decade, Albuquerque has been commissioned to work in locations including: Gannett Publishers, McLean, Virginia; The Evo De Concini Federal Courthouse, Tucson, AZ; Palos Verdes Central Library, CA; Koll/Obayashi Corporation, Los Angeles, CA; Cerritos Public Library, Cerritos, CA; Tochigi Prefecture Health Center, Japan; Saitama Guest Center, Saitama, Tokyo, and the Library at the Tokyo University of Foreign Studies amongst numerous other sites.
Albuquerque, with architect Mitchell De Jarnett, installed Golden State, the largest public art commission in California State government history, a plaza design spanning two city blocks at the center of the Capitol Area East End Complex in Sacramento. Albuquerque completed Celestial Disk, a star map, sculpture and waterfall in collaboration with architect Robert Kramer, which provides the main entrance to the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, Los Angeles. She worked with architect Cesar Pelli on a sculptural floor installation for the New Minneapolis Central Library, and with architect David Martin, has completed a glass pathway, star map and water wall disk for the Wallace Chapel at Chapman University in Orange, CA. She recently created a site-specific work for the California Institute of Technology. Her latest large scale ephemeral Earth Art work Stellar Axis: Antarctica, a star map of blue orbs on ice installed on the Ross Ice Shelf in Antarctica in 2006 combines art with science and examines the human connection with the cosmos and the possibility of light as that link.
She is the recipient of numerous grants and awards including: A National Science Foundation Grant in the Artists and Writers Program; the Cairo Biennale Prize at the Sixth International Cairo Biennale; Arts International award for U.S. Artist Representative for the Cairo Biennale; National Endowment for the Arts Art in Public Places Award (1983, 1984, 1990), a National Endowment for the Arts Individual Fellowship Grant and the esteemed Civitella Ranieri Foundation Fellowship in the Visual Arts, Perugia, Italy (2002). In June 2004 she was honored by the MOCA Los Angeles for their 25th anniversary celebration for her contributions to the museum. Her work is featured in their anniversary catalogue and permanent collection.
Lita Albuquerque’s work is also included in The Archives of American Art at the Smithsonian Institution and is collected by prominent Museums and Foundations, such as: The Whitney Museum Of Art, The Museum Of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, The Getty Trust, The Frederick Weisman Foundation, The Los Angeles County Museum Of Art, The Orange County Museum, The Laguna Art Museum, The Palm Springs Desert Museum, as well as numerous embassies and corporations, on an extensive world wide basis.
Numerous solo exhibitions include: a career survey at Santa Monica Museum of Art; Mary Ryan Gallery, N.Y.; Dorothy Goldeen Gallery, Santa Monica; Marianne Deson Gallery, Chicago; Diane Brown Gallery, Washington D.C.; Lerner Heller Gallery, N.Y.; Robin Cronin Gallery, Houston; and Akhnaten Galleries, Cairo. Her museum exhibition history includes Hirshhorn Museum, Washington D.C.; San Francisco Museum of Art; Musee d’Art Moderne, Paris; Asahi Shimbun, Tokyo; Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.; National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi; L.A. County Museum of Art; and Museum of Contemporary Art, L.A.
Albuquerque is a noted educator and has been on the core faculty of the Fine Art Graduate Program at Art Center College of Design for the last twenty years. She recently completed working in collaboration with astrophysicists from the Spitzer Science Center at California Institute of Technology for OBSERVE, an exhibition at Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, CA, and most recently in Alaska in collaboration with architect Christoph Kappeler for “Freeze” an exhibition of Ice, Snow and Light in the city of Anchorage.
In 2012 she produces the show “287 Steps” on view at the Craig Krull Gallery Santa Monica and participates in the Getty Museum’s Pacific Standard Time Performance Festival with her performative sculpture “Spine of the Earth 2012” a re-invention of her 1980 piece in the Mojave Desert. In June 2012 she curates the audiovisual performance “One Small Section of the Sky” in collaboration with the Kristen Toedtman Exoplanets Ensemble and the NASA Exoplanet Science Institute at Caltech in conjunction with “the Knowledges” festival at Mt. Wilson Observatory in Los Angeles. In 2014 the Center for Art + Environment will be staging a large Museum Exhibit featuring her Stellar Axis: Antarctica project in conjunction with a Monograph of Albuquerque’s ephemeral works published by Rizzoli the Nevada Museum of Art.