The Crystal Quilt: Suzanne Lacy: Tate Modern - The Tanks

The documentation of Lacy's project 'The Crystal Quilt' is being shown at The Tanks - Tate Modern London, don't miss it.
It is a wonderful piece. I found a bit confusing the installation unfortunately, because the little video with statements from Lacy and some of the elderly women that took part in the performance is too far away from the main video projection and the quilt designed by Miriam Shapiro, that inspired the set design for the performance itself. My first reaction was to think that this was no appropriated way to represent the original live piece, and only on my way back from another room I recognised that the small TV screen was part of it. Nonetheless, once my attention default was corrected, I could fully appreciate the documention attempt, which is always such a complex issue when it regards live-art.

until the 28 October 2012.

"On 10 May 1987 in Minneapolis, 430 women over the age of 60 gathered to share their views on growing older. The resulting performance, The Crystal Quilt, was broadcast live on television and attended by over 3,000 people.

It was the culmination of the Whisper Minnesota Project, a three-year public artwork empowering and giving a voice to older women. The process was consciously guided by a desire to represent diverse ethnic and social backgrounds alongside life experience and achievements, forming an active comment on the representation of older women in the media. Lacy has stated: ‘In some sense The Crystal Quilt was successful politically, in that the work was bigger, it had more social impact in that region, but do one or two events ever change the way people – other than those who directly experience it – see? This raises this issue of whether you can expect art to create social change, and at what point is it no longer art.’

The Crystal Quilt now exists in the form of a video, documentary, quilt, photographs and sound piece, combining the original elements of performance, activism and broadcast in an ambitious work that fuses social responsibility with the power of aesthetics: something Suzanne Lacy has pioneered in her long career as activist artist, writer and teacher."

Tania Bruguera is also at The Tanks with a performance, but it was already closed when I arrived. I hope to be able to visit and write about it soon.