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Suzanne Lacy is a pioneer of socially engaged art and public practice, promoting dialogue and collaborations with communities — artists, activists, organizations, schools — throughout her prolific career.

Since the 1970s, she has used community organizing strategies and media interventions to galvanize discussions about pressing social issues including feminism, violence against women, racism, and labor rights. These projects often culminate in large-scale, highly choreographed performances that bring together diverse groups of participants to share their stories.

Co-presented by YBCA and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Suzanne Lacy: We Are Here is the first full retrospective of the Los Angeles–based artist. The YBCA presentation offers a new, experimental approach to authorship and participation, inspired by Lacy’s own commitment to collaborative creation. YBCA will celebrate the rich legacy of youth work in the Bay Area through an in-depth focus on The Oakland Projects (1991–2001), a series on youth empowerment, media education, and policy, presented alongside works by contemporary artists, and youth arts and activist organizations. At SFMOMA, visitors can explore Lacy’s entire career, from her earliest feminist work to her latest immersive video installations. Several projects on view honor the voices and contributions of women to public life. Both venues will host live activations in the galleries and a vibrant range of public programs.

The exhibition is jointly curated by SFMOMA Curator of Media Arts Rudolf Frieling, YBCA Curator-at-Large Lucía Sanromán, and Director of the Institute for Contemporary Art at Virginia Commonwealth University and former Curator of Education and Public Practice at SFMOMA Dominic Willsdon.

Suzanne Lacy: We Are Here is co-organized by Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.


Photo Credit: Suzanne Lacy, Annice Jacoby, and Chris Johnson, The Roof Is on Fire (1993–94), from The Oakland Projects (1991–2001); performance, June 4, 1994, City Center West Garage, Oakland; © Suzanne Lacy; photo: Nathan Bennett, courtesy of Suzanne Lacy

The YBCA presentation is made possible in part by Amanda Weil and the Changing the Ratio Circle of Advisors: Abundance Foundation, Berit Ashla, Diana Cohn, EMIKA Fund, Jennifer C. Haas Fund, La Mar Cebichería Peruana, Rekha Patel, Catalina Ruiz-Healy and Jonathan Kevles, Vicki Shipkowitz, and Meg Spriggs, with thanks to the Facebook Artist in Residence Program.

Major support for the presentation at SFMOMA is provided by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. SFMOMA’s presentation is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.

YBCA Exhibitions are made possible in part by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Panta Rhea Foundation, Mellon / American Council of Learned Societies Public Fellows Program, and Kevin King and Meridee Moore.

YBCA Programs are made possible in part by Bloomberg Philanthropies and The James Irvine Foundation, with additional funding by National Endowment for the Arts, Grosvenor, and Members of Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts is grateful to the City of San Francisco for its ongoing support.