Alterations (1994)
Suzanne Lacy, Susanne Cockrell, and Britta Kathemeyer

Alterations was a performance/installation created for the group exhibition Old Glory, New Story: Re-flagging the 21st Century at Capp Street Projects in San Francisco. In this exhibition, artists, architects and designers from across the country presented assemblage, painting, photography, and mixed media works that featured new flags and symbols for the United States as it prepared to enter the new century. Lacy, Cockrell and Kathemeyer created this ironic work, an installation populated on a daily basis by live women who sat amidst huge red, white and blue piles of used clothes. Hand-stitching the garments together into long red, white and blue lines that trailed around the gallery floor, the women quietly focused on their seemingly endless task. While evoking patriotic icons as emblematic of women as Betsy Ross, these women referred instead to the migrants to this city, particularly those in the garment industry. The gallery, located in the middle of San Francisco’s garment district, was the site for speculation on the role of race and class in the production of clothes in the United States, in women’s work, and in pseudo-patriotism that benefits from cheap labor while decrying immigration. 

Capp Street Projects, San Francisco; subsequently installed at the Santa Monica Museum of Art, Santa Monica, and Forest Lawn Museum, Los Angeles, California.