For many years I have closely followed Lacy’s writings and performances (and have
witnessed many of them firsthand), and over the years I have written extensively on
her as well as interviewed her. (Some of these interviews are published, and others,
including a lengthy 1990 Archives of American Art interview, are not.) She is a cen-
tral figure in the introduction to my book on women’s performance, The Amazing De-
cade: Women and Performance Art in America, 1970–1980, A Source Book (Los Angeles:
Astro Artz, 1983), and appears in many of my published essays and reviews. Never-
theless, it has been fascinating for me personally to read through this collection of
her writings and find many new and illuminating connections. I am as always deeply
indebted to Lacy for our long history of exchanges about art, politics, and life. Please
note, some quotes in my introduction differ slightly from those in original publica-
tions to coincide with edited essays in this book. I would also like to acknowledge
here the (wonderful, as always) editorial help of Michelle Piranio on this text and
Maura High, Duke University Press copyeditor.
1 Suzanne Lacy, “Prostitution Notes” (1974), chapter 1 in this volume; first published in
Veiled Histories: The Body, Place, and Public Art, ed. Anna Novakov (New York: Critical
Press, 1997).
2 Suzanne Lacy was born in 1945 in Wasco (a city of six thousand inhabitants in cen-
tral California) into a close- knit working- class family; she had one slightly younger
brother, now deceased, and a sister, fifteen years younger. Her mother, now deceased,
was from a farm background, and her father was brought up in rural Tennessee. Both
parents worked—her father as an electrician and, later, as a life insurance agent, and
her mother as a clerk in a utilities company. In 1963, Lacy attended Bakersfield Col-
lege as a premed student; after this she studied first philosophy, then zoology at the
University of California, Santa Barbara (BA, 1968). During a year on the East Coast
with Volunteers in Service Training in America (VISTA), she was introduced to sec-
ond wave feminist activism. She entered graduate school at Fresno State in 1969. For
an extensive account of Lacy’s life and art practice, see the unpublished transcript of
my 1990 interview with her for the Archives of American Art, Washington, D.C., and
also “Exchanges,” in Art/Women/California, 1950–2000: Parallels and Intersections, ed.
Diana Fuller and Daniela Salvioni (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002),
in which Lacy and I trace our respective histories from the 1960s onward, including
our friendship, which began in the mid- 1970s.
3 For a vivid description of this program by one of the participants, see Faith Wilding,
“The Feminist Art Programs at Fresno and CalArts, 1970–75,” in The Power of Feminist
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