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Who is Suzanne Lacy? 

Suzanne Lacy, born in Wasco, California, in 1945, is a feminist-artist who pioneered SEA. Simoniti (2018, p. 71) introduces Lacy as follows:

“In one of her earlier works, The Crystal Quilt (1985–1987), Lacy brought together over 400 older women in Minnesota for a mass performance, but the real purpose of the project was in the reactivation of this socially marginalized group, through the two-year period of research and workshops, which led up to the event.”

You can read more about Lacy’s works, such as ‘Three Weeks in May’ (1977), in which she uses mapping as an arts-based method, and ‘Between the Door and the Street’ (2013), a public installation in the streets of New York, on the internet.

Activity 1 .1

(20 minutes reading and 10 minutes reflection)

Browse the internet to find out more about the work of SEA practitioner Suzanne Lacy. You can, for example, search websites such as Tate (, or The Art Story ( ).

Reflect on the following questions:

  1. Why is Lacy considered both an artist and an activist?
  2. Why can her work be considered ambitious? Why and in what ways?
  3. What was the role of performance in Lacy’s works?

Activity 1.2

(20 minutes reading and 10 minutes reflection)

  1. Can you find another example of an artist that was or is considered a social practice or socially engaged artist?
  2. How do the works of Lacy compare to the artist you have read about? What elements are similar or different?

 Simoniti, V. (2018). Assessing socially engaged art. The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, 76: 71–82. doi:10.1111/jaac.12414

Tate (n.d.). Who is Suzanne Lacy?