PrefaCe
This book contains descriptive, strategic, and analytic texts selected from pub-
lications that span over thirty years. Each relates in some way to questions
arising during performances and installations, although five were written as
scripts or artworks. I have selected those that relate to performance, politics,
and publics, reflecting my origins in performance art, political concerns that
infuse a good portion of my work, and an inquiry into points of reception for
my work. My writings derive inspiration from eclectic sources, but they are
grounded in direct experience as a visual artist. I speak from the vantage point
of a specific culture and locale—California—during the same three decades
that were formative to feminist, conceptual, and performance art.
The book is organized in four (roughly) chronological sections. Practice
does not neatly fit into a decade, and I have taken small liberties with as-
signing essays to a section; some are categorized based on performance dates
rather than original publication dates. All have been lightly edited to avoid re-
dundancies among the originals.
Two distinguished scholars have supplied essays. My longtime friend
Dr. Moira Roth has laced together the complex threads of my work as writer
and artist into an introduction that will provide an overview for readers unfa-
miliar with the extent of my work. Dr. Kerstin Mey contextualizes these texts
within contemporary public practices.
It may well occur to the reader that the title of this collection is somewhat
provocative and perhaps, if one considers staying in the profession a virtue,
negative in its implications. Leaving Art is a triple entendre for (1) what is left
behind with transient and public practices, whether this be “plunk art,” arti-
fact, experience, documentation, or claimed “results”; (2) how sources out-
side of art history and theory explain, nuance, critique, and evolve public prac-
tices; and (3) a declaration of intention to explore certain issues and themes
within the art/life continuum.
Sadly, the last few years have seen the departure of several key figures of in-
fluence to my generation: Allan Kaprow, Arlene Raven, Marsha Tucker, Nam
June Paik, and Jo Hanson. In the next several years, artists of my generation
will in fact be leaving art, but I suspect our experiences, practices, and politics
have never been more relevant.
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