The Performing Archive


The Performing Archive was exhibited at Yerba Buena Arts Center in San Francisco and Re.Act Feminism in Berlin which traveled extensively all over Europe. Researchers and historians could make an appointment to go through the archives during these exhibitions.



The Performing Archive Project” began in 2006 at 18th Street Art Center in Santa Monica, CA and houses the entire paper documentation of the work of ARIADNE: A Social Art Network - an organizational designation created by Lacy and Labowitz in 1978-80 to further art protesting violence against women. In specific, these archives were documentation and preparation notes on the performance work of Suzanne Lacy and Leslie Labowitz from 1977 to 1982.

The Performing Archive was an ongoing installation, performance work and video project built around relevant themes in contemporary art, including the process of historification of ephemeral art, institutional and professional “memory,” and the value of women’s artwork.  This project serves as a reminder for all women artists who do or do not intend for their own work to be remembered and preserved.

In Restricted Access, the first exhibition from The Performing Archive at 18th Street, Lacy and Labowitz explored how past and present collide, is considered, and re-emerge through the perspectives of young women artists. Inviting participation from a restricted number of practitioners, most born in or around the decade in question, Lacy and Labowitz demonstrate the open-ended inquiry characteristic of Los Angeles conceptual work of the 70’s in this installation with video interviews and projection and the archives themselves.

Meeting with Lacy and Labowitz in the studio, the guest artists went through the archives and chose up to 10 items that interested them.  The entire experience was captured on video. Samples of their choices were on the tables in front of the mural. The projection on the far wall is a compilation of images from their search. The artist participants: Brienne Arrington, Cara Baldwin, Irina Contreras, Nzuji De Magalhaes, Anoka Faruqee, Zeal Harris, Micol Hebrun, Anna Sew Hoy, Cory Peipon, Haruko Tanaka, Elizabeth Tremante, and Ginger Wolfe.