FROM UPHEAVAL TO PUBLIC ART THE FAR WEST OF OPPORTUNITIES
Toxic Lesbian Opened Dialogues with Suzanne Lacy
6 of May, 2014 at 7 pm.
Every political and social crisis force reappraisals of conditions of production, reevaluation of the nature of artistic work, and reconfiguration of the position of the artist in relation to economic, social and political institutions.
Suzanne Lacy was a product of these political upheavals: “In this moment in California we had the great workers strike, we had the anti war movement, he had black power, the free speech riots at Berkeley, the Black Panthers…”.
With all the reevaluation of the nature of artistic work, all the ideas that support it were put into question: the author, the work of art as object and the nature of the audience. The main idea was looking for an art that would be able to have a deep meaning in common people’s life, and of course, to obtain such utopia result one should investigate and experiment with new models, with expanded audiences, with dialogues, with collaboration and cooperation.
In a way all this conceptualization has to do with feminism, since feminism is an open front against fix structures of gender and social classes. Feminism has to do with equality and with bettering everybody’s common life. Feminism has always been concerned with equality in society for every body, as New Genre Public Art is also concerned.
The place and context for all this dramatic changes in the art scene was California. It was a virgin territory, the “Far West of Opportunities”, as Lacy puts it. It might be this the reason for the new common spirit of experimentation, collaboration, working together and starting processes that wanted to empowered people all around the world.
Women artists from ‘90s have developed new strategies to create and diffuse their artwork. Feminism and sexual orientation are two issues considered on their proposals. Ciberfeminism as social movement influences those artists to design their pieces in such a way the Internet is the main source of their inspiration.
Venus Matrix (VNS Matrix) is an Australian women artists group known from the beginning of ‘90s. They were one of the first using art pieces just created for the Internet and to be diffused by viral strategies. Many other artists have continued their way since then. VNS Matrix is an influence for Toxic Lesbian art work.
Donna Haraway is a well-known writer changing the traditional feminist considerations from a queer point of view, introducing the Cyborg concept. Gender defined, as a Cyborg metaphor will do a revolution in any trans-feminist women artist imagination.
Many women have continued the emancipatory way that twenty or even thirty years before, other women activists or women artist activists had started. Suzanne Lacy´s ideas about art and audiences, her definition of New Genre Public Art is part of the same theoretical and activist line. The XXI Century tools take into consideration the virtual representation space and that leads to a deep change, but this new way started many years ago.