Pomona College Assistant Professor of art Lisa Anne Auerbach recently received a grant of $20,000 from the Comfort Tiffany Foundation.The award was given to 30 of more than 400 candidates in recognition of their talent, promise, and individual artistic strength.
Auerbach said she had no specific plans in mind for what to do with a grant of such magnitude.
However, she said she does plan to fix one of her broken cameras and begin a “mega-book” project.
“It would be a coffee-table book that would be as big as the top of a coffee-table,” she said. “To bind and finish [such a large book] nicely would probably be expensive.”
She also might begin a project similar to her current “Tract House: A Darwin Addition,” an installment in the Philagrafika 2010: Out of Print print festival hosted by the American Philosophical Society Museum. Her multimedia work incorporates manifestos, letters, and other works responding to Darwin’s life and ideas. At first she solicited this material from friends and acquaintances, but eventually she began to receive pieces from people she did not know. The pieces were collected and presented for viewers to read or take with them for free.
The work intends to “encourage people to have conversations,” she said. “Art is really about communication.”
Once, when Auerbach temporarily lost access to a darkroom, she took up knitting. Inspired by the custom sweaters worn by the lead singer for Cheap Trick, she said she became enchanted with owning sweaters of her own custom design as a statement piece.
“Art is interesting when it has an agenda besides itself…an everyday or practical quality,” Auerbach said.
For a particularly unconventional project which Auerbach deemed an “antisocial practice piece,” she started a small unicycle-renting business in the desert with eight unicycles she purchased from eBay and finished in red. The “impossible unicycle business” rented the cumbersome means of transportation for 10 cents an hour.
While she expected renters to become frustrated or even hurt themselves, business became “a total kumbaya moment, [with people] helping each other, holding each other up on these unicycles,” Auerbach said. “The peoples’ bodies became part of the project.”
She eventually published a book about the endeavor.
Auerbach said “Myroots as an artist are more conceptual, [stressing] ideas over medium.”
Her art often incorporates multimedia, as she tries to use the best medium or set of media to convey her message.
For more information on Auerbach, visit her website at