Burning Question

What is the relationship of “service” to “activism,” and of both to “art practice”? Are artists limited by their allegiance to a professional community and its standards and methodologies? How is my work linked to local service practices and global activisms? Who do we work for, toward what ends, and what acts are most effective toward those ends?


Traveling To

Colombia and Ecuador


About the Project

Suzanne Lacy will travel to Colombia and Ecuador to explore long-standing questions raised in her own writings about the relationship between artistic and activist practices. In Colombia, she will be joined by a longtime collaborator, anthropologist Pilar Riaño, whose human-rights work in that country calls attention to indigenous people displaced by war. In Ecuador, she will meet with scholars and theorists who are implementing socially-engaged art educational programs. Through periods of intense production alternating with periods of reflective writing, Lacy’s career path reflects key questions in art that works through lifelike actions.


About the Artist

Born 1945, Wasco, CA. Lives and works in Los Angeles.


Suzanne Lacy’s work, which frequently focuses on social themes, includes installations, video, and large-scale performances. Recent performances include The Tattooed Skeleton, for the Museo Nacional Centro Reina Sofia, in Madrid; Prostitution Notes, at the Serpentine Marathon, London; Anyang Women’s Agenda, in Anyang, Korea (with photographer Raul Vega); and an installation in the Medellin Biennale, Colombia, that built on the 1998–99 project The Skin of Memory, undertaken with Pilar Riaño. Recent project-based installations include The Crystal Quilt, an acquisition by Tate Modern, and Storying Rape, at the Liverpool Biennial. Lacy is currently working on The University of Local Knowledge, a long-term project in Bristol, England, with the Arnolfini Gallery and the Knowle West Media Centre. On February 3, 2013, she will present Silver Action, a new performance at Tate Modern.


Also known for her writing, Lacy edited the influential Mapping the Terrain: New Genre Public Art, published in 1995 by Bay Press, and Leaving Art: Writings on Performance, Politics, and Publics, 1974–2007, published in 2010 by Duke University Press. She is the Chair of the Graduate Public Practice Program at Otis College of Art and Design, in Los Angeles.