London’s Tate Tanks to Feature Feminist Performance

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The former oil tanks at London’s Bankside Power Station opened to the public in July as the first element of Tate Modern’s expansion. It’s a performance space that on Feb. 3 will feature scores of activist women over 60 years of age who will take part in ‘Silver Action’, a live and unscripted performance conceived by artist Suzanne Lacy. It’s the first event in the BMW Tate Live series for 2013.

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UK-based women who took part in significant activist movements and protests from the 1950s to ’80s will share their personal stories in a series of workshops, culminating in a day-long public performance on 3 February. Visitors to The Tanks will hear diverse groups of women engaged in discussion about their experiences and the impact and results of their actions as they walk among them. Live documentation – film, social media and text – will also be projected in real time onto the walls of The Tanks.

The Ford sewing machinist strike of 1968, which led to the Equal Pay Act 1970; the Miss World demonstration of 1970; the Grunwick dispute from 1976 to 1978;and the Greenham Common women’s peace camp campaign for nuclear disarmament in the 1980s are among the types of movements with which the participants of Silver Action have been involved. Each has attempted to transform the contemporary social landscape and the relationship between government, corporations and working people in the UK.

When the Tanks opened in July, Richard Dorment, writing in The Telegraph, commented:

The new spaces at Tate Modern are, as far as I know, the first permanent exhibition spaces in the world specifically designated for showing art that involves film, sound, projection and performance.

The opening…of The Tanks will, I think, come to be seen as the pivotal moment in the history of art, when these once marginal forms of artistic expressions were fully incorporated into the museum-going experience.

Suzanne Lacy is an internationally known artist, educator, writer, curator, and former public servant, according to Wikipedia. She has worked in various media, including installation, video, performance, public art, and artists’ books. She describes her work as focusing on “social themes and urban issues.”