2019 Distinguished Speaker Series

The Distinguished Speaker Series at Crystal Bridges invites visitors to hear from internationally acclaimed leaders who inspire new ways of thinking about art, architecture, and nature.

Wheelchair seating, assistive listening devices, and CART captioning are offered at all Distinguished Speaker Lectures. Please contact [email protected] or 479.657.2415 for preferred seating.

Check out past Distinguished Speaker Series





Laurie Anderson

Visual Artist, Composer, Musician,
Film Director, Writer

Laurie Anderson is a visual artist, composer, musician, film director, and writer who has pushed disciplinary boundaries in American art for over four decades.  Known primarily for her multimedia presentations, she has cast herself in roles as varied as visual artist, composer, poet, photographer, filmmaker, electronics whiz, vocalist, and instrumentalist. O’ Superman, included in the exhibition Men of Steel, Women of Wonder, launched Anderson’s recording career in 1980, rising to number two on the British pop charts and subsequently appearing on Big Science, the first of her seven albums on the Warner Brothers label. Anderson’s visual work has been presented in major museums throughout the United States and Europe. Her recent projects include a series of audio-visual installations and a high-definition film, Hidden Inside Mountains, a two-year worldwide tour of her performance piece, “Homeland,” and a solo performance, “Delusion.” Her awards include the prestigious Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize for her outstanding contribution to the arts in 2007, Pratt Institute’s Honorary Legends Award in 2011, and Yoko Ono’s Courage Award for the Arts in 2016.

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Vanessa German

Visual and Performance Artist

Vanessa German, the winner of the 2018 Don Tyson Prize, is an acclaimed visual and performance artist based in the Pittsburgh neighborhood of Homewood, the community that is the driving force behind German’s powerful performance work, and whose cast-off relics form the language of her copiously embellished sculptures. She was featured in Crystal Bridges’ State of the Art exhibition (2014-15). As a citizen artist, German explores the power of art and love as a transformative force in the dynamic cultural ecosystem of communities and neighborhoods. She is the founder of Love Front Porch and the ARThouse, a community arts initiative for the children of Homewood. Several of German’s artworks are included in Crystal Bridges' permanent collection. German’s fine artwork has been exhibited widely, most recently at the Mattress Factory, Pittsburgh, PA; Spelman College Museum of Fine Art, Atlanta, GA; the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, CT; the Studio Museum, Harlem, NY; the Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL as well as upcoming solo exhibitions at the Flint Institute of Arts, Flint, MI and the Figge Art Museum, Davenport, IA. Her work has been featured on CBS Sunday Morning, NPR’s All Things Considered and in The Huffington Post, O Magazine and Essence Magazine.

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More 2019 Distinguished Speakers will be announced soon! Check back for new additions throughout the year.

The Distinguished Speaker Series is sponsored by Del Monte Foods, Inc.