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By Sharon Irish
Publisher: University Of Minnesota Press, 2010
Pages: 288
Dimensions: 9.9” in x 7” in
Cover: soft
Binding: perfect bound
Process: digital
Color: full color cover, 57 b&w photos, 11 color photos
Edition Size: unknown
ISBN-10: 0816660964
ISBN-13: 978-0816660964

NOTE: Marked down for being slightly shopworn

Our friend Sharon Irish spent over 10 years working on this book. The result is the first book on Suzanne Lacy that takes a hard, critical, and understanding look at this innovative, controversial, and exciting artist. Lacy paved the way for two subsequent generations of artists who work in socially engaged, expansive and critical ways well beyond the constraints of formal art spaces.

Often controversial and sometimes even shocking to audiences, the work of California-based artist Suzanne Lacy has challenged viewers and participants with personal accounts of traumatic events, settings that require people to assume uncomfortable positions, multisensory productions that evoke emotional as well as intellectual responses, and even flayed lambs and beef kidneys. Lacy has experimented with ways to claim the power of mass media, to use women’s consciousness-raising groups as a performance structure, and to connect her projects to lived experiences. The body and large groups of bodies are the locations for her lifelike art, revealing the aesthetics of relationships among people.

In this critical examination of Suzanne Lacy, Sharon Irish surveys Lacy’s art from 1972 to the present, demonstrating the pivotal roles that Lacy has had in public art, feminist theory, and community organizing. Lacy initially used her own body—or animal organs—to visually depict psychological states or social conditions in photographs, collages, and installations. In the late 1970s she turned to organizing large groups of people into art events—including her most famous work, The Crystal Quilt, a 1987 performance broadcast live on PBS and featuring hundreds of women in Minneapolis—and pioneered a new genre of public art.

Irish investigates the spaces between art and life, self and other, and the body and physical structures in Lacy’s multifaceted artistic projects, showing how throughout her influential career Lacy has created art that resists racism, promotes feminism, and explores challenging human relationships.

Sharon Irish holds a joint appointment in the School of Architecture and the Community Informatics Initiative/Graduate School of Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois, Urbana–Champaign. She is the author of Cass Gilbert, Architect: Modern Traditionalist.

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