On October 19, 2013 at 4:30 p.m. hundreds of women will gather on the stoops and entry courtyards of Park Place between Vanderbilt and Underhill Avenues, in Prospect Heights,Brooklyn. There, they will explore some of the most compelling and provocative issues facing women today. The performance--unscripted yet meticulously composed--is the central component of Between the Door and the Street, a major work, and the first in New York City, by internationally celebrated artist Suzanne Lacy, presented by Creative Time and the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art at the Brooklyn Museum. The public is encouraged to come to this tree-lined street and wander freely among the different groups to listen, observe, and form their own opinions, perhaps shaping a new understanding of what feminism means to different individuals in today's world.
Between the Door and the Street is presented during the era of the so-called "third wave" of feminism, and in the context of the ongoing worldwide struggle to achieve equality for women. In the United States, for example, despite major social and legislative progress, women still make 77 cents for every dollar earned by men in equivalent jobs; men still hold the vast majority of leadership positions in both government and industry; women's control over their own bodies is subject to legislation, some of it mandating invasive procedures; and one in four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime. In many areas of the world, women cannot appear in public without subjecting themselves to the potential for violence.
To create this multi-faceted project, Lacy--who is perhaps the most important socially engaged artist working today--spent six months in conversation with a multi-racial, multi-generational, group of women, at once responding to the criticism of feminism as exclusionary and honing her awareness of the multitude of issues that affect women of all backgrounds. She then worked closely with a core group of advisers to develop the form and specific content of the project. She considers this inclusive process to be an integral part of the artwork itself.
Each of the Park Place stoops will be occupied by a group of three-to-seven people, most of them brought together by one of dozens of New York City-based activist organizations solicited for this purpose. As each group will discuss a unique question, Between the Door and the Street will encompass a highly diverse array of issues, including both those that are routinely associated with women, such as reproductive rights, and others--like global economics, poverty, and immigration--that are not, but that nonetheless have a deep and particular impact on women. Participants in the conversations will cross lines of race, generation, socioeconomic background, and gender.
The New York City stoop is an apt site for these discussions. It is not only an iconic symbol of neighborly conversation, but is also the space between private and public--providing the literal transition from the door to the street. Indeed, the dynamic interchange between private and public life is one of the major contributions made by women to equity movements worldwide, from the suffragettes and their forebears, who advocated for women to leave their homes and participate in public life, to current global activists for gender justice, who address issues like violence, poverty, and economics.
At the Brooklyn Museum
On October 12, at 2:00 PM, Suzanne Lacy, Nato Thompson, and Sackler Center Curator Catherine J. Morris will speak at the Museum, where they will discuss the project and the process behind it.
In addition, the artist will pose a series of questions to the Brooklyn community at large through an architectural intervention on the Museum's own front stoop. Through these prompts, Lacy will literally and metaphorically wrap the stoop in feminist discourse.
Lead project support for Between the Door and the Street is provided by the Elizabeth A. Sackler Foundation, Stephanie Ingrassia, Katie Michel, Barbara Nessim, Mary Jo and Ted Shen, Ellen Taubman, Ippolita Rostagno, Carol Goldberg, Diana Wege Sherogan, Annette Blum, Judy Cox, Louise Eastman, Jeanne Greenberg Rohatyn, Toby Devan Lewis, Brooke Garber Neidich, Pamella Roland, Martine Trink Rubenstein, Victoria E. Schonfeld, Elizabeth Smith, Frederieke Taylor, Barbara Tober, Donna Harkavy, Joyce Pomeroy Schwartz, Claudia Baez, Riva Blumenfeld, and Margaret Sullivan. List in formation.
Los Angeles-based artist Suzanne Lacy is internationally renowned as a pioneer in the field of socially engaged and public art. Lacy's installations, videos, and performances deal with such critical issues as sexual violence, rural and urban poverty, incarceration, gender identity, labor, and aging. Working collaboratively, and in the model of a community organizer, Lacy has realized large-scale projects in London, Oakland, Los Angeles, Charleston, SC, and the Kentucky Mountains. She has won fellowships from numerous foundations, including the National Endowment for the Arts and Rockefeller Foundation, and her work has been exhibited and collected by national and international institutions.