Thursday, April 18, 2024



Artist Suzanne Lacy’s “In Mourning and In Rage” brought a feminist critique of serial killer media coverage to the steps of Los Angeles City Hall in 1977. Lacy speaks Thursday at Lesley University.

Performance and installation artist Suzanne Lacy speaks at Lesley University on Thursday about the social issues have inspired her over the past three decades, including race, gender equity and the labor conditions of low-wage workers.

Lacy is a visual artist whose career includes performances, video and photographic installation, critical writing and public practices in communities. She is known for taking her art out of the gallery and into the world to foster discussion about important themes.

One of her most famous performance pieces, “The Crystal Quilt” – broadcast live on PBS in the late 1980s – featured 430 women over the age of 60 talking about their lives while seated in an 82-foot-square tableau, forming their own quilt.

A work last year, “Between the Door and the Street,” involved choreographed but unscripted conversations among some 400 women, a few men and an estimated 2,500 viewers in a Brooklyn, N.Y., neighborhood, who talked about issues of gender, race, ethnicity and social class. Another performance piece, “Cleaning Conditions,” was two weeks long and involved people from local labor and immigration organizations using push brooms to clean up litter made up of political fliers and other materials.

“In Mourning and In Rage” brought a feminist analysis to weak media coverage of the Hillside Strangler, two serial killers targeting women in 1977-78. Participants from the Woman’s Building, the Rape Hotline Alliance and City Council joined with the feminist community and families of the victims in creating a public ritual of rage and grief at Los Angeles City Hall.

In addition to her artwork, Lacy edited the 1995 anthology “Mapping the Terrain: New Genre Public Art,” about the impact of performance art in public spaces. More recently, she published “Leaving Art: Writings on Performance, Politics and Publics, 1974-2007.”

Lacy’s talk is part of the university’s Strauch-Mosse Visiting Artist Lecture Series. It runs from 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday Lesley University’s Marran Theater, 34 Mellen St., in the Agassiz neighborhood near Harvard Square. This event is free, but registration is required here.

This post was written from a press release.