Suzanne Lacy kicks off 'Three Weeks in January' at LAPD headquarters
Artist Suzanne Lacy is holding a press conference Thursday afternoon to mark the start of "Three Weeks in January," an anti-rape campaign she is organizing based on her landmark 1977 project "Three Weeks in May."
The centerpiece of her original work was a L.A. city map on which she stenciled and stamped the word "RAPE" wherever one was reported over a three-week period. She plans to do that again, but there are striking differences between the new project and the original, and she is the first to admit the social context has changed dramatically over the last three decades.
The incidence of rape in L.A. is down. Public awareness is up. Lacy credits groups like Peace Over Violence and the Rape Treatment Center with making great strides in anti-rape work while acknowledging the work that remains to be done in terms of awareness and prevention both.
But one of the most striking differences between the two projects is location. Last time around she installed the map in a mall near City Hall--not quite getting access to City Hall itself. (By the end of the three weeks under study, one woman had been raped about 100 yards from the map.)
This time the map has been installed prominently on the LAPD's main campus downtown, outside the Deaton Auditorium. It's one sign of the support that Lacy has received from current city officials. Another is her roster of speakers, which includes Police Chief Charlie Beck and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.
"It was much easier to go straight to the top this time—the mayor, the deputy mayor, the police chief," she said Wednesday, when interviewed for a larger story on the project. "The mayor himself grew up in a domestic violence situation and has been very open about that.”
Check back on Culture Monster for the full story Friday.
Photo: Suzanne Lacy during installation of her "rape map" at Deaton Auditorium on the LAPD campus; here she holds a mock-up of her "RAPE" stencil. Credit: Jori Finkel / Los Angeles TImes