Colette Lumiere is a trailblazer whose vast and enduring body of work has both innovated and defied the categories of street art, installation, performance, mixed media works, staged photography, and painting from the early 1970s through the present. Moving fluidly between the public sphere and her own private space, Colette’s work embraces an unapologetic eroticism and effete femininity that short-circuits feminist politics. Channeling various heroines throughout history in performances and staged photographs, by wearing custom clothing on a daily basis, Colette has created an individual mythology in which the line between art and life is largely indiscernible. In addition to her bold and boundary-pushing work, Colette Lumiere has also become known for her use of herself as a central element in her art. Throughout her career, Colette has become well known for her creation of "living personas" which often challenge traditional gender roles, and is a recurring theme in her performances and installations, as she pushes the boundaries of societal expectations. These personas include Justine of the Colette is Dead Co aka Justine & the Victorian Punks (Reverse Pop Series) (1978–83), Mata Hari and the Stolen Potatoes (Berlin,1984-86), Countess Reichenbach as part of her Bavarian Adventure (1986-91), the House of Olympia (1991-2001), and Post 9/11 Lumiere (Maison Lumiere 2001-2007), which she renamed Laboratoire Lumiere after losing her legendary Pearl St. Atelier. Her ever-shifting personas allow Colette to embody and explore different aspects of herself and her art, and have become an integral part of her unique artistic vision.
Colette’s artwork is in the collections of the Guggenheim, New York; MOCA, Los Angeles; The Brooklyn Museum, New York; The Aldrich Museum, CT; The Museum Ludwig, Cologne, Germany; The Wolfsburg Museum, Wolfsburg, Germany; The Berlinische Galerie, Berlin, Germany; Orange County Museum of Art, CA; FIU Miami Museum, FL, and Newport Harbor Museum, CA among others. Recent solo exhibitions include Notes on Baroque Living: Colette and Her Living Environment, 1972 - 1988, Company Gallery, New York (2021-22). She has presented her work at the Museum of Modern Art, New York (1977); The Musee Dart Moderne Lausanne; MoMA PS1, New York (2009); the New Museum, New York (1981); the Grey Art Gallery, New York (2006 and 2011); the Museum of Contemporary Art Houston (1981); the Berlin Kunstverein (1981); the Munich Kunstverein (1989); the Munster Kunstverein (1981); the Museum of Modern Art, Finland; and the Musee National De Montreal. The artist has participated the Paris Biennial in 1977, Venice Biennial in 1984, and Montreal Biennial in 2002. Colette has been the recipient of grants from the Joan Mitchell Foundation in 2013, Warhol Foundation in 2013, John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation in 2016, Pollock-Krasner Foundation in 2004, and the National Endowment for the Arts in 1978 and 1985, among others. In recognition of her innovative work, Colette Lumiere was invited by the DAAD to live in Berlin for a year in 1984, where she remained for another year, during which time she created stunning sets and costumes for the Berlin Opera in 1985.