Laurie Anderson's commencement speech on art, science and space

Gayle from the School of Visual Arts in NYC sez, "Acclaimed multimedia artist Laurie Anderson gave the commencement address this year at the School of Visual Arts' (SVA) graduation ceremony, held at New York City's Radio City Music Hall on May 10. In a speech that was at turns thoughtful and lighthearted, she interwove stories from her own career beginnings, including lessons learned while studying at SVA with Sol Lewitt, anecdotes from her experience as NASA's first artist-in-residence and advice for the 2012 graduates, encouraging them to relish the freedom inherent in being an artist. Anderson explained, 'The reason I'm an artist is that it's one of the few things that you can do in this world in which you are totally free -- absolutely no one tells you what you can do and what you can't do.' Anderson ended her address with a treat for the audience: she played a tune using what she called "a pillow recorder" as a make-shift harmonica. Afterward, Anderson accepted an honorary degree presented by SVA Board Member Janet Knox."

NASA cancelled the Artist-in-Residence program after Anderson's tenure, thanks to an unnamed senator's austerity witch-hunt, and Anderson makes a good case for what an artist adds to a venture like NASA. She's a fascinating and insightful speaker, and manages to say intelligent things about art without being esoteric or opaque, which is a rare gift.

5. Commencement Speaker's Address: Laurie Anderson (Thanks, Gayle!)

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