Suzanne Lacy, Learn Where The Meat Comes From, 1976
Suzanne Lacy
Learn Where The Meat Comes From

Suzanne Lacy (*1945, USA) is known for her large-scale work involving large numbers of participants, usually concerned with political issues in relation to the role and status of women in society. She was an early student on the Feminist Art Program at the California State College (alongside Faith Wilding) in 1971. After graduating she taught performance art in the Feminist Art Workshops at the Woman’s Building in Los Angeles. Her often research based practice seeked to act directly within society and its political framework, collaborating for instance with — besides artists such as Leslie Labowitz or Barbara T. Smith — lawyers, prostitutes or elder women. As in the three–year project "The Crystal Quilt" (1987) which involved 430 older women talking about age in a final sound performance. During the 1990s Lacy worked with teams of artists and youth to create an ambitious series of performances, work- shops, and installations on youth and public policy.

Learn Where the Meat Comes From is a classic feminist video. According to Micki McGee, Lacy depicts how “gourmet carnivore tastes take on a cannibalistic edge. This parody of a Julia Child cooking lesson collapses the roles of consumer and consumed: Lacy instructs us in the proper butcher’s terms for cuts of meat by pointing them out on her body. As the lesson progresses she becomes more and more animal–like, growling and baring over-sized incisors. Perhaps, in her role as a gourmet cook, she is herself as much consumed as consumer.” —Micki McGee, Unacceptable Appetites, exhibition catalogue (New York: Artists Space, 1988) (quoted on

Courtesy Suzanne Lacy

Document media
Video, colour, sound, 10:28 min

Issue date

Leslie Labowitz (LAB 1/P)
Leslie Labowitz (LAB 2/P)
Barbara T. Smith (SMI 1)

housework/carework, human/non-human animals, laughter/humorous, metamorphosis

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