Exhibition

Suzanne Lacy

We Are Here

April 20–August 4, 2019

YBCA First Floor Galleries and
SFMOMA Floor 7 and Haas Jr. Atrium

Suzanne Lacy is a pioneer of socially engaged art and public practice, promoting dialogue and collaborations with communities — artists, activists, organizations, schools — throughout her prolific career. Since the 1970s, she has used community organizing strategies and media interventions to galvanize discussions about pressing social issues including feminism, violence against women, racism, and labor rights. These projects often culminate in large-scale, highly choreographed performances that bring together diverse groups of participants to share their stories.

Co-organized by SFMOMA and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA), Suzanne Lacy: We Are Here is the first full retrospective of the Los Angeles–based artist. At SFMOMA, visitors can explore Lacy’s entire career, from her earliest feminist work to her latest immersive video installations. Several projects on view honor the voices and contributions of women to public life. The YBCA presentation offers a new, experimental approach to authorship and participation, revisiting key collaborative projects through the lens of today. This includes an in-depth focus on The Oakland Projects (1991–2001), a series on youth empowerment, media education, and policy. Visitors can also engage with works by contemporary Bay Area artists, and youth arts and activist organizations. Both venues will host live activations in the galleries and a vibrant range of public programs.

Suzanne Lacy: We Are Here is co-organized by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. The exhibition is jointly curated by Rudolf Frieling Curator of Media Arts, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Dominic Willsdon, Director of the Institute for Contemporary Art at Virginia Commonwealth University and former Leanne and George Roberts Curator of Education and Public Practice at SFMOMA, and Lucía Sanromán Curator at Large, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.

Major support for Suzanne Lacy: We Are Here is provided by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.

The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts

Generous support is provided by Lionel F. Conacher and Joan T. Dea.

This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.

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Header image: Suzanne Lacy, Filming The Circle and the Square, 2017 (excerpt); courtesy the artist; © Suzanne Lacy

Exhibition Preview

  • Suzanne Lacy, Inevitable Associations,

    Suzanne Lacy, Inevitable Associations, 1976; performance, August 8, 1976, Biltmore Hotel, Los Angeles; © Suzanne Lacy; photo: Raúl Vega

  • a semblance of human body and organs in swimming pool

    Suzanne Lacy, Anatomy Lesson #4: Swimming, 1977 (detail); © Suzanne Lacy; photo: Rob Blalack

  • Suzanne Lacy and Leslie Labowitz, In Mourning and in Rage

    Suzanne Lacy and Leslie Labowitz, In Mourning and in Rage, 1977; performance, December 13, 1977, City Hall, Los Angeles; © Suzanne Lacy and Leslie Labowitz; photo: Maria Karras

  • original selection of Whisper, the Wave, the Wind

    Suzanne Lacy and Sharon Allen, Whisper, the Waves, the Wind, 1983–84; performance, May 19, 1984, La Jolla; © Suzanne Lacy; photo: Edith Kodmur

  • Suzanne Lacy, The Crystal Quilt (detail),

    Suzanne Lacy, The Crystal Quilt, 1985–87; installation view at the Tanks, Tate Modern, London; lent by the American Fund for the Tate Gallery 2012; photo: © Tate, London 2018

  • Suzanne Lacy, Susanne Cockrell, and Britta Kathmeyer, Alterations,

    Suzanne Lacy, Susanne Cockrell, and Britta Kathmeyer, Alterations, 1994; installation view of performance as part of Old Glory, New Story: Re-flagging the 21st Century (1994–95) at Capp Street Project, San Francisco; © Suzanne Lacy; photo: Gary Nakamoto

  • Suzanne Lacy with Meg Parnell, Cleaning Conditions,

    Suzanne Lacy with Meg Parnell, Cleaning Conditions, 2013; performances, Manchester Art Gallery as part of do it 2013, Manchester International Festival 2013 at Manchester Art Gallery; © Suzanne Lacy; photo: Alan Seabright

  • De tu Puño y Letra (By Your Own Hand), 2015 (production still); performance

    Suzanne Lacy, De tu puño y letra (By Your Own Hand), 2015 (production still); performance, November 25, 2015, Plaza de Toros, Belmonte, Quito, Ecuador; © Suzanne Lacy; photo: Christoph Hirtz

  • The Circle and The Square, 2017; multi-channel video installation

    Suzanne Lacy, The Circle and the Square, 2017 (production still); filmed performance, Brierfield Mill, Brierfield, Lancashire, United Kingdom; © Suzanne Lacy; photo: Chris Payne