Bad at Sports – Suzanne Lacy

I saw this post lingering in my drafts, where I started transcribing an episode I particularly liked. As it turns out, I will never finish it but I like what is transcribed enough to share. Thanks!

11:11pm – 1230am

You can’t you won’t and you dont stop …

welcome to bad at sports i’m richard holland and i’m losing my voice. but will that stop us, the bad at sports royale, from stop producing the show, hell no

This week we talk to Suzanne Lacy, who is an artist, educator, writer, I mean social practice before there was the term activist and many many other things installation, video, performance artist, and all around fascinating person who was also part of the Education Cabinet under Jerry Brown when he was the Mayor of Oakland and then was the arts commissioner for the city as well. this is an amazingly interesting renaissance person with a lot of great stuff to say. And as I’m losing it by the second I will shutup and let the interview unfold before you. Enjoy it and have a good week.

dm – Ok now I’m going to have my coffee, that I illegally sneaked in, they were like is that coffee b/c you can’t take that in the gallery.

sl – why didn’t you get cappuccino? at their expense? what’s the matter with you? you guys haven’t learned to work the system yet. we have a running tab out there. You guys have the running tab. he gets free cappuccino on it.

dm – i like this there’s so much to learn from you.

sl – working your way around the system, that’s my specialty.

dm – that does not surprise me. because Suzanne Lacy you are like an art world “polymath” (??) before it was cool, before

sl – what ever that word means

dm – before everyone got to do everything, you were out there as an arts commissioner for oakland, you were writing, being an artist, curating, kind of owning your position.

sl – well you know owning your own position does come out of the politics of the late 60’s and 70’s which had to do with I came into the art world through a political venue, I was involved with community organizing, I learned Alinsky methodology which you’ll appreciate living here in Chicago. I was in Vista and went back to grad school for psychology and ended up diverting into the arts kind of accidentally. And that was the moment when Black Power, Chicano Power was both emerging in the art world, and mostly in the general culture, the great strikes, the royal Chicano Airforce. A lot of what was happening in California had to do with the educational system actually which opened up in the late 60s, the promise any working class kid could go to university. So all of us sort of bounded in to the university. so Suddenly in LA there were artists coming out of the Vietnam War and from many of the political movements and manifesting those in the same way. they were being manifested in the general culture. so fortunately I was at CalArts that was a very critical moment, the idea of conceptual art, the idea of beyond walls, the idea of performance art, the kinds of political formal liftings from you could take a strike and put it in the art world you could take an article and argue its position in the art world. i was particularly identified with feminism although i am very involved with racial politics and class politics. and so as a result we understood there was no way we could get into the art world without having as you say articulated our own position. so we wrote about it, we exhibited it, we made our institutions, we made our own schools, we were in CONVERSATION with other liberation movements doing the same thing. So that’s a lengthy answer to a very pertinent question.
dm – well i want to get back to this question but first i want to mention i am flanked by abby and brice who are bad at sports social practice team. welcome to the team. abby – thanks duncan brice – happy to be here

sl – in true social practice fashion they let you talk. this is the first thing you learn in organizing. let them do the talking.

dm – i think that’s the first thing you learn in management, delegate

sl – yeah, right. laughter

dm – so suzanne i want to take that question too of the 60s and 70s and use it as our starting point.because you had an unusual opportunity to revisit a project 35 years later, in the context of Pacific standard time, you revisited your “Three Weeks Project” from 1977 and I wanted you stage that project from 1977 and tell us how it went off this January in LA …