The Loft Artists Gallery, Stamford, CT



The idea of literal representation holds no interest for artist Lisa Cuscuna. When gallery patrons look at one of her surrealistic paintings and ask, “What are you trying to say?” she would prefer that viewers come up with their own interpretations. Cuscuna has delighted in combining the real and the surreal in work like the canvas that shows an open doorway floating in the sky above a beach. (I think of that airborne, reflective monolith in “2001,” but you might see Dali or Escher.) “I ask people to look beyond a conventional way of seeing things — try to choose another point of view and see if that works for you,” she says in her studio at Stamford’s Loft Artists Association.

The pull between control and chaos in Cuscuna’s work might be more acute than it is for other artists because she has juggled life as a successful businesswoman with her abstract art. The artist retired from her job as a producer of video installations for museums to refocus her energy. “I did budgeting and design. I was at the top of my game, but I never saw my family,” she says of creating huge video displays for places like the twin tower skyscraper in Kuala Lumpur. That was a $2.7 million video wall project that took three years to pull together. (She used the New York Philharmonic for the music.) “Painting is an ever-changing new career for me,” Cuscuna adds of her life now. “I am very much enthralled with the idea of the creative process and that it should be unfettered. The work should flow through the artist, taking on a spirit and youthfulness that you won’t get if you push too hard. … Zen and art go together for me.” Cuscuna was stilll pulling together work for a major show at the Stamford nonprofit — “The Fluid Palette,” opening March 17 — when I visited her studio. The surreal paintings began in a roundabout way for her. “I was doing a lot of surreal photography and I took the work to a gallery that liked them, but they said, ‘These are very nice. Can you paint them?’ I said, ‘Absolutely’ without missing a beat and went right home and started to paint,” she says with a smile. A door suddenly opened into new territory for the artist, much like the portals she has included in her work. Cuscuna has been delving deeply into the concept of “poured painting” in recent work. Instead of using a brush, an artist working with this technique pours paint onto a canvas and builds a new work layer by layer. The process of pouring and then being forced to wait for the next step has bolstered Cuscuna’s belief in the union of art and zen and other practical aspects of life. During the required pauses to allow each layer of oil paint to dry, she is able to shift gears to her volunteer work as treasurer of the Loft Artists Association.

New York artist Paul Jenkins was the father of this style of art that played a major role in the classic late-1970s art-world drama, “An Unmarried Woman.” He created the work done by the painter Alan Bates plays in the movie. “It’s a departure from the exact and the specific that excited my imagination,” Cuscuna says of the technique, in which part of the “control” is taken away from the artist. “There are certain things that the paint does by itself — it curdles, there are striations and textural effects you have to work with.

“This is far more challenging than looking at something and replicating it. You have to be on your toes, ready for personal adjustments. … The painting has a life of its own.
“You also do a lot of praying,” she says, laughing.

Twitter: @joesview



Moss Hall Showroom, Stamford, CT



“I love photographic images that challenge the viewer to think. . . . . . often believable from a distance but very challenging to understand when viewed up close in detail. These striking (images), many using clouds and a beautifully colored sky as a backdrop, were simple in composition but complex in concept and execution.” Lee Payne, The SUNDAY GREENWICH TIME. 




Lillian August Showroom, Norwalk, CT






Zorya Gallery, Greenwich CT.



Clive Daniels Showroom


Boca Raton, Florida

The showroom installation was done in partnership with RFADecor, a division of Rosenbaum Contemporary Gallery.

Private Homes




High Point North Carolina

High Point Market is a semiannual furniture design show, held in April and October, open exclusively to the trade. Located in downtown High Point, North Carolina, the show draws more than 75,000 interior designers, architects, and home furnishings buyers each season. This year Lisa Cuscuna was a featured artist on display represented by RFAdecor, a division of Rosenbaum Contemporary Gallery, located in Boca Raton Florida.


BLACK HOLES; Gravity's Ultimate Triumph Video


The Rose Center for Earth and Space/ Planetarium; The New York Museum of Natural History; 79th street and Central Park West


2000 - Current

THE PLANETARIUM at the New York Museum of Natural History

BLACK HOLES: Gravity’s Ultimate Triumph was a film commissioned by the New York Museum of Natural history, to play at the new Rose Center at the NY Planetarium in the year 2000. It featured statements by Einstein and Hawkings on Black Hole Theory, illustrating the dimensional mysteries that we still struggle to understand today. With images from Nasa’s computer generated library and newly created computer graphics, this video prompted the following review from the New York Times science editor. “Some of the most interesting photographs… are not explained until we reach a little enclosure called “The Black Holes Theater” on the lowest level of the Rose Center. Modest in size, this presentation is nevertheless richer in content than most of the rest of the Rose Center.”

Malcolm W. Browne, THE NEW YORK TIMES

Read more in the press



KLCC Petronas Towers; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia


2000 - Current

The Petroleum National Company of Malaysia opened a new science museum located in the KLCC Twin Towers, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Two 5 minute ride experiences transport visitors in and out of the museum. Cuscuna produced and directed all video and music for the experiences which included over eighty elements synchronized with lighting, scenic and other elements. Video was shot over a 5 – week period on location including 10 days of aerial 35mm filming from a helicopter with a Westcam ball mounted camera. The video segments are programmed in sequence to an original music track recorded in part by the New York Philharmonic.

“Your vigor, attention to details, and sincerity in this project will surely be seen by our visitors.”

Tengku Nasariah Tengku Syed Ibrahim, Director of the Petrosains Discovery Center, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia



College Station, Texas


1998 - Current

The largest element in the George H. W. Bush Presidential Library is a 60 – foot facade of the White House. Through the center portico is a videowall presentation directed and produced by Cuscuna illustrating the life of the President during his years of office. The 5 – minute presentation, “ A Da y in the Life ”, chronicles the significant events that took place during his term, choreographing elements according to the time of day they occurred.

“ The planning and building of the library was a tremendous team effort, and I wanted you to know that Barbara and I are grateful for your contribution. ”

GEORGE H. W. BUSH , 41st President of the United States of America



Lausanne, Switzerland


1993 - Current

The International Olympic Committee opened a new museum in Switzerland to showcase the history and stories of the Olympic Games. This 36 – monitor videowall had four segments: Practice, Arrival at the Games, Competition and Celebration. Designed for the famed Olympic Television producer Bud Greenspan, this wall had four source reels and played continuously over decades. It was capable of being updated every four years.



Park Avenue, New York, N.Y.


1993 - 1996

The Panasonic Learning Lab was created by Dr. Ellyn Berk, PHD, as a day trip experience for New Y ork School children, The purpose of the Lab was to develop the interactive learning skills of elementary level students. The theme of the program was to ask students to research anything in the history of mankind that they felt would be of interest to other children inhabiting another planet. The 5 – minute video wall presentation designed by Cuscuna was played first to orient the students to the significant events, people and discoveries in our history. Research would be done on one of the first historical databases created for interactive learning within the New York City school system. The resulti ng work was a a personalized message created by each student for the purpose of interplanetary communication and exploration.

“ The planning and building of the library was a tremendous team effort, and I wanted you t o know that Barbara and I are grateful for your contribution. ”

Dr. Ellyn Berk, PHD. , Director of the Panasonic Learning Lab

THINK; Innovation at IBM


The IBM Gallery for Science & Art 57th Street and Madison Avenue, New York, N.Y.


1990 - 2000

THINK: Innovation at IBM Videowall IBM GALLERY: 57th Street & Madison Avenue The IBM Gallery of Science and Art – located at 57th street & Madison Avenue, opened a sister exhibit in 1989 on the street floor for the general public. The purpose of the exhibit was so that people could explore science with the early stages of interactive computer learning stations. In addition to the databases and computers, there was a videowall presentation highlighting 5 great scie ntific achievements that IBM had supported. One of these was the invention by Benoit Mendalbrot of fractal geometry, the math that enables us to create most of the games that are played on computers today . Designed and conceived before videowall processors were invented, each screen was edited separately.

“ A new exhibit premiered at the IBM Gallery of Science and Art …. included a 30 ft. media wall, …. that acts as an introduction to the experience ”. Cuscuna came up with the notion of putting 27 individua l monitors of different sizes in a freeform configuration behind a wall of black plexi – glass. Each screen was edited individually and choreographed in a way so that the “ Wall ” would expand and contract in time to the narration and music. Because of the ple xi – glass, only the lit monitors would appear creating the illusion that the wall ’ s configuration was in a continuous state of flux.

Read mode



The Mirage Hotel and Casino


1993 - 2005

The Seigfried and Roy show was managed by Feld Entertainment and ran for two decades at the Mirage Hotel and Casino. Designer John Napier (Miss Saigon, Cats, Starlight Express and Nicholas Nicolby) and Director John Caird asked Cuscuna to design projected panoramic backgrounds for the show. Austrian Pani projectors were used to project the images onto six panels that created a dome spanning the 120 ft. wide by 30 ft high stage.


“Modest in size, this presentation is nevertheless richer in content than most of the rest of the Rose Center.”
“BLACK HOLES – Gravities Ultimate Triumph”, video.  The Planetarium, N.Y.
Malcolm Browne, The New York Times review
“The planning and building of the library was a tremendous team effort, and I wanted you to know that Barbara and I are grateful for your contribution.”
“GEORGE BUSH, Former President of The United States
The George Bush Presidential Library Video Wall, College station, Texas.
“Your High level of creativity, and unswerving dedication to every aspect and nuance of the design and production of the dark ride visitor experience, played a major role in the success of the project.”
Petrosains Science and Discovery Center entry ride, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Robert N. Marona, Principal Creative Director, DMCD Inc.
“Your Vigor, attention to details. and sincerity in this project will surely be seen by our visitors.”
Petrosains Science and Discovery Center entry ride, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Tengku Nasariah Tengku Syed Ibrahim, Director of the Petrosains project
“You live up to – and exceed your terrific reputation in my book, Lisa. I hope we have more opportunities to collaborate.”
 CBS Broadcasting Group, annual meeting
Jane Gottleib, Executive Producer
“Your piece illuminates and excites while offering children both the familiar and the unknown.”
The Panasonic Learning Lab, video wall orientation,  Park Avenue, New York
Ellyn Berk PH. D. Director Panasonic Learning Lab


YOU'RE WELCOME AMERICA - Will Ferrell | Broadway play


Will Ferrell | Broadway play Cort Theater, New York, N. Y.



You’re Welcome America, staring Will Farrell was a dark comedy directed by Adam McKay. Will Farrell plays the part of President George Bush during his White House years. The projected scenery simply set the stage for different locations such as the Oval O ffice, an aircraft carrier or Camp David, where with great comedic flair, Farrell would portray Bush and satirize the events of his presidency. The show had a set run of three months that was extended due to an early sell out of seats.

“ All is achievedwith little more than a few set pieces and some ingenious projections.”





“Cuscuna created the images taking photographs, drawing and painting images, and manipulating them

in a computer with Adobe Photoshop and other programs. Part of the design was to break apart the images over several Vari-Lite glass gobos.  The full image then could be composed on the stage by bringing several of these glass pieces together with choreographer movement.

In virtually every case the images are suggestive rather than explicit. For example, “There’s one image with autumn trees and the shadow of a church steeple. The image tells you you’re in a church graveyard without showing the graveyard. With the projection you can infer the scenic pieces that aren’t there. It allows your imagination to build the scene.”


“The Carousel, as a device to deliver scenic elements is revolutionary. It allows (the projections) to come in at any angle, from almost any direction, and change location in space as you watch. “ The rig (used) Vari-Lite automated lighting units, and projected images (fabricated into Vari-Lite  gobos) designed by Lisa Podgur Cuscuna. It’s the first time that moving lights have been employed in this fashion and the results are stunning. As the stage revolved, scenic pieces moved into place, the lighting transformed the space and projections completed the scene. Simply put, nothing like it has ever been seen before.


Mr. Napier said he “wanted to achieve an atmosphere of fluidity: Impressionistic cinematic elegance.

. . . .objects floating in space arriving in a scene from the most unexpected positions.”  Suspended from the lighting carousel are lights . . .and more than 40 scenic slides projected onto scrims. The effect (is) deceptively simple, but the technology behind it is a significant advancement in scenic design.

Robin Pogrebin, THE NEW YORK TIMES

Nov 17th 2000

“Astounding ghostlike images. . .” – David Rosenberg, BACKSTAGE

“The projection moves with a shimmering fluidity.”  – Charles Isherwood, VARIETY

“The tableaus are often striking, part museum, part cyberspace.”  – Bruce Weber, THE NEW YORK TIMES



The Palace Theater, London, England



SINGING THE PRAISES OF A FABULOUS CITY – “NEW YORK is breathtakingly evoked in the first half of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Concert for the Theater, SONG AND DANCE at the PALACE Theater. As vista after vista is projected on a backdrop of Japanese screens, the splendid prodding skyline of Manhattan becomes more inviting . . . . . Responsible for these superb images are Francisco Hidalgo and Lisa Podgur Cuscuna, and their work alone is worth the price of admission.”




Alvin Theater, New York, N.Y.



“Merrily We Roll Along”, originally directed and produced by Hal Prince with Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim opened on Broadway at the Alvin theater in the 1980’s. The story went backwards in time starting with three established professionals and ending as they graduate college.  Ahead of its time, the backwards storyline was difficult to follow and it played for only a few months. However it has had several successful revivals since that time. The set, designed by Eugene Lee, and Lighting by David Hersey used projected backgrounds as scenery. It was the beginning of a great professional relationship that Cuscuna had with Harold Prince, which included projections for Arthus Kopit’s “End of the World” starring Linda Hunt, and “Diamonds”.

“In going back over the “MERRILY” experience, I find many things to be thankful for – not the least of which being David introducing you to us. I hope and trust we will be working together again soon.”

Always, Hal

Harold Prince, Broadway Director and Producer
“Merrily We Roll Along”. Broadway, New York, N.Y..


“Responsible for these superb images . . . . and their work alone is worth the price of admission.”
Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Song and Dance”
Clive Hirschhorn, London Sunday Express
“Astounding ghostlike images. . .”
David Rosenberg, BACKSTAGE
“The projection moves with a shimmering fluidity.”
Charles Isherwood, VARIETY
“The tableaus are often striking, part museum, part cyberspace.”
Simply put, nothing like it has ever been seen before.“
“Marvelous projections. . . . you have created the first successful high-tech drama. . .

Harold Prince’s “END OF THE WORLD”, -The Music Box Theater, N.Y.

Victor Gluck, Backstage Magazine
“In going back over the “MERRILY” experience, I find many things to be thankful for – not the least of which being David introducing you to us. I hope and trust we will be working together again soon.”

“Merrily We Roll Along”. Broadway, New York, N.Y..

Harold Prince, Broadway Director and Producer