The Performing Archive: RESTRICTED ACCESS
Suzanne Lacy and Leslie Labowitz
March 3 - 25, 2007
Opening reception:  Saturday, March 3, 2-5 pm

18th Street Arts Center
1639 18th Street, Studio 2, Santa Monica, Ca 90404             
Contact: Leslie Labowitz
Public hours,  Saturday and Sunday, 1-4pm; or by appt.
18th Street Arts Center contact information:
(310) 453-3711, fax (310) 453-4347
Web site,

Detail from 8 x 24 ft. photomural by Leslie Labowitz based on the 1977 Lacy/Labowitz performance “In Mourning and in Rage”.

In RESTRICTED ACCESS, the first exhibition from The Performing Archive, which coincides with WACK! Art of the Feminist Revolution at the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Suzanne Lacy and Leslie Labowitz explore how past and present collide, are considered, and re-emerge through the individual perspectives of young women artists.  Inviting participation from a restricted number of practitioners, most born in or around the decade in question, Lacy and Labowitz demonstrate the open-ended inquiry characteristic of Los Angeles conceptual work of the 70s in an installation with video, text, and the archives themselves.  Artists participating: Brienne Arrington, Cara Baldwin, Irina Contreras, Nzuji De Magalhaes, Anoka Faruqee, Zeal Harris, Micol Hebron, Anna Sew Hoy, Cory Peipon, Haruko Takaka, Elizabeth Tremante and Ginger Wolfe.

In a series of contemporary performances and installations on gender, the production of knowledge, and the cyclical nature of political and cultural events, Lacy and Labowitz position their considerable archival documents from the decade 1970-1980 as a key actor. The Performing Archive, sponsored in part by The 18th Street Art Center, is housed in the historic Santa Monica exhibition and artist’s residency space, founded in 1988. What began as a process of reviewing and archiving their work soon became a performative project that raises questions on archiving performance art, the technology of archiving, and the politics of inclusion.

Background Information:

Suzanne Lacy and Leslie Labowitz are best known for their private and public performances that explored women’s bodies, relationships, and cultural representations. In the late 70s they formed Ariadne: A Social Art Project, as a contextualizing concept for a series of large public performances on violence against women in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and San Francisco. In an era when process trumped product, artistic strategies in collaboration, relationship, media intervention and political engagement emerged in a cultural context influenced by the Vietnam war, feminism, civil rights activism, and mass media critique. Lacy and Labowitz’ performances, particularly In Mourning and In Rage (Los Angeles 1977), were known for their strategic engagement with local politics, community organizing and journalism. They deconstructed coverage of crimes against women on television news and in newspaper feature stories, cleverly inserting a critique of media into mass media itself. Their performances, exhibitions, and published texts expanded the public audience for art and provided strong demonstration of its relevance to political activism.

The Performing Archives serves as an activated space of private and public reflection on how artists preserve their work and how the history of art is told. Currently, the formulation of the historical records on Los Angeles artists, feminist artists, performance artists, video artists and others working between 1965-1985 is taking place through international exhibitions. Given the difficulty of maintaining paper-based archives, those that are selected for preservation and made accessible to the public will play an important role in this formulation, becoming, if not the work, then a stand-in for it. With the advent of digital technology, the nature of artist’s archives will be dramatically different in years to come. However, in this transitional moment, radical artistic thought from the 70s—which, in the case of Lacy and Labowitz, deals with subjects of gender and race erasure, the nature of audience, and the public roles for art—is preserved today through living artists and their paper-based archives.

Lacy and Labowitz will talk about their collaboration during the late 70’s, mass media, and violence against women.  Also celebrating the launch of the InterReview Journal ’07, featuring their work.
Friday, March 2, 7 pm
2640 S. La Cienega Blvd.,  Los Angeles, Ca
For more information call 310.589-8536, or email

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