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Suzanne Lacy: One artist, three weeks, 40 events

January 14, 2012 |  8:07 am

Watching Suzanne Lacy in action on the Los Angeles Police Department campus, where she kicked off her anti-rape campaign "Three Weeks in January" this week, you could see a set of skills that not all artists have.

She was guiding various volunteers during the installation of a "rape map," the centerpiece of her project, with the confidence of a film director. And she was chatting with a stream of police officers and administrators who happened to walk by -- sussing out their interests in sexual violence issues like a politician building support for a cause.

This is par for the course for Lacy. A pioneer in the field of socially engaged art work, called "public practice" in art lingo, she meets a lot of strangers, collects a lot of business cards and writes a lot of follow-up emails to officials. She tends to interview her interviewers. And she has a knack for identifying the goals and obstacles that motivate people, like any good grass-roots activist.

In essence, she operates like a community organizer with one foot in the art world. She says she even received training in community organizing back in the late 1960s when working for VISTA, the domestic counterpart to the Peace Corps. She now hones these skills in projects such as "Three Weeks in January," which is both an artwork under her guidance and a set of activities and events -- some 40 planned for this month -- that extend well beyond her control.

Click here for the full article on this collaborative, multi-faceted, art-as-activism project.


It Speaks to Me: Suzanne Lacy on Andrea Bowers

PST: Lesser-known artists are poised for a breakthrough

-- Jori Finkel

Image: Suzanne Lacy on Wednesday talks to Assistant Police Chief Michel Moore during installation of her “rape map” at the LAPD headquarters. Credit: Christina House / Los Angeles Times