Stellar Axis: Antarctica, 2006. 99 blue spheres placed on the Ross Ice Shelf, temporary site-specific work. Photo: Jean de Pomereau / courtesy the artist.

Art as Expedition: A Conversation with Lita Albuquerque

As a child, Lita Albuquerque was mesmerized by the vault of nighttime stars visible from the Catholic convent that was her home in Carthage. Occasionally she would visit her mother in a small seaside village, where the Mediterranean lapped the Tunisian shore. Frequently she would cast glances toward the sea’s horizon, scanning for her French father’s appearance on a ship that never arrived. The vagaries of seeking the visible in the invisible, to paraphrase Yves Klein, inform Albuquerque’s life and work. Moving to Los Angeles to complete high school, she emerged on the L.A. art scene in the 1970s, combining California Light & Space concepts with those of Land Art. While she has created numerous permanent installations for national and international clients, including the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles, the California Golden State Capitol project in Sacramento, the Evo de Concini Federal Courthouse in Tucson, and the Tochigi Prefecture Health Center in Japan to name a few, she remains most renowned for her ephemeral site projects.