Tyler Green
Art-focused Journalism by Tyler Green

Tyler Green Modern Art Notes

PST spotlight: Suzanne Lacy

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One of the key stories of the Pacific Standard Time series of exhibitions is how freely artists experimented with new media and with mixing media within single artworks. One of the most dramatic examples is Suzanne Lacy’s 1977 Three Weeks in May (above), elements of which are included in both MOCA’s “Under the Big Black Sun,” and in the Otis College’s Ben Maltz Gallery, which is home to “Doin’ It In Public: Feminism and Art at the Women’s Building.” Here’s MOCA’s description of Lacy’s project:

“In May 1977, Suzanne Lacy organized an ‘expanded performance’ over the course of three weeks to raise awareness among Los Angeles inhabitants of the frequency of assaults on women citywide. The project opened on Mother’s Day, May 8, 1977, and included performances and installations as well as non-art events such as speeches, interviews, self-defense demonstrations, and speak-outs. On this map of Los Angeles, installed in the mall outside City Hall, Lacy stenciled the word ‘RAPE’ in red on the approximate locations attacks reported to police during the three weeks of the project. (At the close of Three Weeks in May, ninety rapes had been reported.) The artist later stated that ‘if rape was practically a household experience [she should] make its name a household word.'”

You can view images from the performances and actions that were a part of Lacy’s project at the Women’s Building image archive. The whole project makes today’s relational aesthetics fad look pretty silly.

Previouisly: DeWain Valentine, Robert Heinecken and Peter Alexander.

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