“End Rape in Los Angeles”: Restaging Suzanne Lacy’s Three Weeks in May for the Pacific Standard Time Performance and Public Art Festival
In 1977, artist Suzanne Lacy created Three Weeks in May, an expanded performance piece that recorded instances of reported rape in Los Angeles over a three-week period, aiming to expose the extent of sexual violence in the city. In 2012, this piece was re-staged as Three Weeks in January for the Pacific Standard Time Performance and Public Art Festival, a celebration of the breadth and diversity of L.A. art between 1945 and 1980. Accompanied by a range of public talks and events, the centrepiece of both projects, the 'rape map', recorded the locations of reported rapes, physically mapping a history of sexual violence, and feminist art practices which address this, in L.A. The re-staging of performances from the 1970s, a decade significant to the development of feminist performance, was one of the key strands of the Pacific Standard Time programme. However, where questions may be posed as to the potential for re-performance to diminish the aesthetic or political value of a piece, Three Weeks in January elides such criticism. Instead, it embraced the local and international artistic platform afforded by Pacific Standard Time, and reached an extended public through the use of social media. What does it mean for this piece to be 'successfully' repeated and transposed to a new context, given the subject matter on which it focuses? How can progress in attitudes towards rape be measured? And is the focus on the recent trend of 're-performing' historical works a suitable approach to evaluating the outcomes of this piece?
Citation : Curtis, H. (2013) “End Rape in Los Angeles”: Restaging Suzanne Lacy’s Three Weeks in May for the Pacific Standard Time Performance and Public Art Festival. Feminist and Women’s Studies Association (FWSA) conference, University of Nottingham, 21 June.
Research Institute : Institute of Drama, Dance and Performance Studies
Peer Reviewed : No
- School of Arts