Nicola L’s first trip to New York was formative: She was captivated by the city’s creative energy and saw more Pop Art, formed a lifelong friendship with Ms. Schneemann, and discovered vinyl, which would be a signature material of hers. She took to visiting the city regularly.
Back in Paris, she began making usable furniture; one of the earliest works was the vinyl “White Sofa Foot” (1968), which also came in black and red. She had her first solo shows at Galerie Veranneman in Brussels (1968) and Galerie Daniel Templon in Paris (1969). Her first solo show in New York was at the Waddell Gallery in 1973.
Nicola L moved to New York in 1979, settling at the Chelsea Hotel in an apartment furnished with her art. For a while she concentrated on film, making a short documentary that captured the punk-rock band Bad Brains at the Lower East Side nightclub CBGB, and another about Abbie Hoffman, which was shown on PBS. Her last film was “Doors Ajar at the Chelsea Hotel” (2013).
In New York, she exhibited her usable sculpture at Art et Industrie, at the SoHo design store Moss and at Ingrao Gallery. In the teens, broader selections of her work were seen at the Broadway 1602 and Elga Wimmer galleries.
Nicola L’s feminism flowed into a series of collages on wood that were inspired by the poems of Dorothy Parker, shown at the Rempire Gallery in SoHo in 1991, and her nine “Femme Fatale” paintings from 1995, exhibited that year at the Vrej Baghoomian Gallery, also in SoHo.
These paintings honor women who had died tragic or violent deaths, among them Marilyn Monroe, Billie Holiday and Ulrike Meinhof, the radical West German leftist and co-founder of the Red Army Faction. Each work is a suggestive monochrome involving painted bed sheets on a large panel along with images and texts concerning the woman and her name, writ large.
Nicola L’s artistic fluidity was noted by the curator Ruba Katrib in an essay for the catalog to the Sculpture Center’s 2017 exhibition. “Nicola,” she wrote, “has always worked between the borders of artistic movements, nationalities, decades, art and design, never fully entering one camp or another.”