Barbara T., Untitled (Four Performance Documents): Feed Me, 1973
Barbara T. Smith
Untitled (Four Performance Documents)

At the end of the 1960s, Barbara T. Smith (*1931, USA) was one of the first performance artists on the West Coast of the USA. In the early 1970s, Smith created performances based on ritualistic actions and often connected to food. According to the artist, "Feed Me" (1973) was repeatedly criticised and misunderstood, but she has always rejected the accusation that she treats women in art simply as the objects of the male gaze and that she affirms the idea that they are available objects in everyday life of society. Always in control, she subverts the idea that a naked woman is merely at men’s disposal. Smith has repeatedly positioned her performances in socially critical contexts, and she maintains a lively exchange with other contemporary artists (such as Nancy Buchanan and Suzanne Lacy), with whom she collaborates.

For Feed Me (1973), Barbara T. Smith sat naked in a room where only one visitor could enter at a time. A voice could be heard on a tape recorder, ordering visitors to feed her, leaving them to go about this task on their own. In Intimations of Immortality (1974) she switched places with several homeless women, spending time sitting on a park bench while they sat in a museum. On the last day, she invited a group of homeless people into the museum, where they decided to have a party. For The Cover Up (1976), Smith designed a hotel room to look like a sexual fight had taken place. An interview with a chambermaid can be heard on tape, talking about patriarchal negligence in phrases like “Men only want quick sex and then they leave.” For The Hunger Strike (1980), which Smith performed together with Faith Wilding and Leslie Labowitz, the artists made white signs that they displayed in a protest against the rejection of an equal opportunity law. During one of their art actions, Smith and Wilding saved Labowitz’s life when she collapsed, dressed fully in black, after an exhausting protest action against the current political situation.

Courtesy Barbara T. Smith

Document media
Video documentation with photographs, b&w, sound, 7:39 min

Issue date
1973-1980

Relations
Laura Cottingham (COT 1)
Faith Wilding (WILD 1)
Leslie Labowitz (LAB 1/P)
Leslie Labowitz (LAB 2/P)
Suzanne Lacy (LAC 1/P)
Suzanne Lacy (LAC 2/P)
Suzanne Lacy (LAC 3)


Tags
labour, private/public, resistance, precarity, sexualities, voyeurism

Archive Signature
SMI 1
A
Ebtisam Abdulaziz
Marina Abramović
Helena Almeida
Eleanor Antin
Arahmaiani
Malin Arnell
Oreet Ashery
Augusta Atla
Margarita Azurdia
B
Antonia Baehr
Maja Bajević
Anne Bean
Anat Ben-David
Renate Bertlmann
Pauline Boudry & Renate Lorenz
Nisrine Boukhari
Marijs Boulogne
Tania Bruguera
Nancy Buchanan
Maris Bustamante
C
Cabello / Carceller
Shirley Cameron/ Monica Ross/ Evelyn Silver
Graciela Carnevale
Theresa Hak Kyung Cha
Helen Chadwick
Chicks on Speed
Lygia Clark
Mary Coble
Colette
Cooltūristės
Corpus Deleicti
Nieves Correa
Laura Cottingham
Lilibeth Cuenca Rasmussen
D
Katrina Daschner
Teresa María Díaz Nerio
Vlasta Delimar
Carola Dertnig
Disband
Ines Doujak
Orshi Drozdik
Yingmei Duan
Kirsten Dufour
E
Diamela Eltit
Rose English
VALIE EXPORT
F
F.F.F.F.
Factory of Found Clothes
Esther Ferrer
Les filles Föllen
Rose Finn-Kelcey
Angelika Fojtuch
Simone Forti
Coco Fusco
G
(e.) Twin Gabriel
Regina José Galindo
Anna Bella Geiger
Rimma Gerlovina and Valeriy Gerlovin
Patrycja German
Ghazel
Kate Gilmore
Trine Mee Sook Gleerup
H
Mona Hatoum
Lynn Hershman
High Heel Sisters
María Teresa Hincapié
Nan Hoover
I
Icelandic Love Corporation - Gjörningaklúbburinn
IngridRobertMwangiHutter
Sanja Iveković
J
Elżbieta Jabłońska
Françoise Janicot
Birgit Jürgenssen
Joan Jonas
Anne Jud
Kirsten Justesen
K
Kanonklubben
Line Skywalker Karlström
Tina Keane
Klonaris / Thomadaki
Bettina Knaup & Beatrice Ellen Stammer
Jakob Lena Knebl
Verica Kovacevska
Elena Kovylina
Katarzyna Kozyra
Christina Kubisch
Kvinder på Værtshus (Women down the pub)
Verena Kyselka
L
Nicola L
Latifa Laâbissi
Leslie Labowitz
Leslie Labowitz & Suzanne Lacy
Suzanne Lacy
Katalin Ladik
Sigalit Landau
Klara Lidén
Kalup Linzy
Natalia LL
Léa Lublin
M
Jumana Manna
Manon
MaraM
María Evelia Marmolejo
Muda Mathis
Dóra Maurer
Mónica Mayer
Ana Mendieta
Marta Minujín
Fina Miralles
Molly and me
Linda Montano
Charlotte Moorman
Teresa Murak
Sands Murray-Wassink
N
Narcissister
Rabbya Naseer & Hurmat Ul Ain
Senga Nengudi
Les Nyakes
O
Paulina Ołowska & Lucy McKenzie
Lorraine O’Grady
Hannah O’Shea
Funda Özgünaydin
Itziar Okariz
Yoko Ono
ORLAN
Tanja Ostojić
P
Gina Pane
Letícia Parente
Ewa Partum
Jillian Peña
Performance Saga
Friederike Pezold
Howardena Pindell
Adrian Piper
Mariuccia Pisani
Polvo de Gallina Negra
Pussy Riot
R
Yvonne Rainer
Eglė Rakauskaitė
Jytte Rex
Àngels Ribé
La Ribot
Jesusa Rodríguez / Liliana Felipe
Ulrike Rosenbach
Martha Rosler
Boryana Rossa
María Ruido
S
Raeda Saadeh
Andrea Saemann
Les Salonnières und Dr. Soley
Estíbaliz Sábada
Zorka Ságlová
Christine Schlegel
Cornelia Schleime
Carolee Schneemann
Schwarze Schokolade
Stefanie Seibold
Stefanie Seibold & Teresa María Díaz Nerio
Miriam Sharon
Bonnie Ora Sherk
Barbara T. Smith
Cornelia Sollfrank
Antonieta Sosa
Spiderwoman Theater
Annie M. Sprinkle
Gabriele Stötzer
Sandra Sterle
Annika Ström
Melati Suryodarmo
Anna Szwajgier/ Zorka Wollny
T
Jinoos Taghizadeh
Milica Tomić
Mare Tralla
Teresa Tyszkiewicz
U
Mierle Laderman Ukeles
V
Valie Export Society
Cecilia Vicuña
W
The Waitresses
Julita Wójcik
Faith Wilding
Hannah Wilke
Martha Wilson
Y
Nil Yalter
Yeni & Nan