Chickens Coming Home to Roost (1975-76)

In a series of early photographs and videos, Lacy explores the relationship between identity and the gendered, biological body through language, popular narratives, and medical science. Her imagery was varied and came from her prior zoology and pre-medical studies, and included comparisons of her nude body with animal carcasses and graphic exploration of body parts and slaughterhouses. This humorous work, one of many in which Lacy explores the complicated relationship between physical bodies and language, is expressed through a deadpan linguistic comparison: her leg with that of a chicken, euphemistically called a “drumstick.” These works defy the obvious interpretation of a plea for vegetarianism: Lacy is clearly eating the meat. Rather, they question our assumptions of difference with the animal kingdom, her nudity clearly emphasizing the human body’s animal nature. Seen in the context of both early feminism and body art, these artistic statements explore identity in unique, perhaps metaphysical ways.