Friday, February 3, 2023

Cinderella in a Dragster

Suzanne Lacy is an American artist, educator, writer, and professor at the USC Roski School of Art and Design. She has worked in a variety of media, including installation, video, performance, public art, photography, and art books, in which she focuses on "social themes and urban issues." She served in the education cabinet of Jerry Brown, then mayor of Oakland, California, and as arts commissioner for the city. She designed multiple educational programs beginning with her role as performance faculty at the Feminist Studio Workshop at the Woman's Building in Los Angeles.

She was Cinderella on a dragster

It was 1976, and the slim figure perched inside the loudly sputtering dragster was wearing a pale yellow jumpsuit. She pulled up in front of the Dominguez Hills State College library and began to speak in a rapid-fire monologue. Beginning with her childhood in Wasco, CA, she calculated the number of blocks she traversed weekly, and how her movement across space grew exponentially until the present, when she moved up and down the length of the state each week, teaching one day in San Francisco, one in Los Angeles, and one in San Diego. She calculated the time she spent each year in travel and the time spent shaving her legs. She mused about how being an artist was like being Cinderella, building castles in the air and making coaches out of pumpkins. Survival as an artist, she remarked, requires an ability to build, then destroy, your own imaginaries in a search for the next metaphor.

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