Since the 1970s, the performance and conceptual artist Suzanne Lacy has explored women's lives and experiences, as well as race, ethnicity, aging, economic disparities, and violence, through her pioneering community-based art. Combining aesthetics and politics, and often collaborating with other artists and community organizations, she has staged large-scale public art projects, sometimes involving hundreds of participants. Lacy has consistently written about her work: planning, describing, and analyzing it; advocating socially engaged art practices; theorizing the relationship between art and social intervention; and questioning the boundaries separating high art from popular participation. By bringing together thirty texts that Lacy has written since 1974, Leaving Art offers an intimate look at the development of feminist, conceptual, and performance art since those movements' formative years. In the introduction, the art historian Moira Roth provides a helpful overview of Lacy's art and writing, which in the afterword the cultural theorist Kerstin Mey situates in relation to contemporary public art practices.
Suzanne Lacy is an internationally known artist whose work includes installations, video, and large-scale performances on social themes and urban issues. She is also chair of the Master in Fine Arts in Public Practice program at Otis College of Art and Design. Lacy edited the collection Mapping the Terrain: New Genre Public Art and has published more than seventy articles on public and performance art.
Illustrations ix Preface xiii Acknowledgments xv Introduction. Suzanne Lacy: Three Decades of Performing and Writing/Writing and Performing / Moira Roth xvii Part 1. Learning to Look: The Seventies Introduction 2 1. Prostitution Notes (1974) 5 2. Falling Apart (1980) 20 3. Body Contract (1974) 30 Photo Essay. Learn Where the Meat Comes From (1976) 43 4. Cinderella in a Dragster (1977) 48 5. The Bag Lady: On Memory (1982) 52 6. The Life and Times of Donaldina Cameron (with Linda Palumbo and Kathleen Chang) (1978) 57 7. In Mourning and In Rage (With Analysis Aforethought) (1978) 64 8. Learning to Look: The Relationship between Art and Popular Culture Images (with Leslie Labowitz) (1970) 72 9. Feminist Artists: Developing a Media Strategy for the Movement (with Leslie Labowitz) (1981) 83 10. Time, Bones, and Art: Anatomy of a Decade (1995) 92 Part 2. Political Performance Art: The Eighties Introduction 108 11. Broomsticks and Banners: The Winds of Change (1980) 109 12. The Greening of California Performance: Art of Social Change-A Case Study (1982) 114 13. Made for TV: California Performance in Mass Media (1982) 120 14. Battle of New Orleans (1980) 126 15. Beneath the Seams (1982) 137 16. In the Shadows: An Analysis of The Dark Madonna (1990) 144 17. Political Performance Art: A Discussion by Suzanne Lacy and Lucy R. Lippard (1985) 151 Part 3. Debated Territory: The Nineties Introduction 160 18. The Name of the Game (1991) 161 19. Debated Territory: Toward a Critical Language for Public Art (1994) 172 20. Affinities: Thoughts on an Incomplete History (1994) 185 21. Love, Cancer, Memory: A Few Stories (1996) 194 22. Cancer Notes (with Leslie Becker) (1995) 211 23. What It Takes (with Ann Wettrich) (2002) 222 Part 4. Leaving Art: After 2000 Introduction 236 24. The Skin of Memory/La Piel de la Memoria (with Pilar Riano-Alcala) (2006) 237 25. Seeking an American Identity (Working Inward from the Margins) (2003) 250 26. Cop in the Head, Cop in the Street (2006) 267 27. Having It Good: Reflections on Engaged Art and Engaged Buddhism (2005) 284 28. Hard Work in a Working-Class Town (2006) 300 29. Tracing Allan Kaprow (2007) 319 Afterword: In|ter|ceptions and In|tensions-Situating Suzanne Lacy's Practice / Kerstin Mey 327 Appendix. Chronology and Selected Performances and Installations 339 Notes 343 Index 369