In spite of the good intentions, this work fails from both viewpoints: artistic and political. Artistic: that there is no consideration for form can, of course, be an artistic choice. But the work was so literal, so similar to a political happening, that it failed to produce any kind of displacement, to open any new perceptual space, to have any kind of impact on the participants. Moreover, it did not even manage to resolve in a direction or in another the ambiguous position of the participant: spectator or active participant? The work did not decide. Political: what is to be gained from the representation of political and social activism as a form of art? The specific nature of political activism and of its motivation is obliterated, each of the stairs on which the conversations were taking place, enclosed by little gates, made the walk in the block similar to a walk in a museum hall, with painting exposed on each side of the hall. What’s the point? The self-enjoyment of ‘oh, how sensitive we are to social problems’? It was bad, real bad.

http://creativetime.org/suzannelacy/

2 thoughts on “On Suzanne Lacy’s Between the Door and the Street

  1. I didn’t see the work, so I can’t respond to its specifics. There is always a chance that there is something in it that Cinzia didn’t appreciate, and I haven’t seen. Yet, I think this comment raises a crucial issue about art and politics. I think art can and has played significant political roles. I saw this intensively in Poland. But when art is confused with politics, when the art is politically literal, as Cinzia puts it, it makes for bad art and potentially bad politics, e.g. socialist realism. I have a plan to write more about this in relation to the Polish poster artist Jan Sawka in the near future.

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