Inevitable Associations (1976)
The first of a series of performances exploring aging women, this was a two-day performance staged in the lobby of the Biltmore Hotel, then undergoing renovation that was compared in the media with face-lifts and other gender/age associations. As American Theater Association members were registering for an annual conference, the performance was set up in the hotel lobby to look like three demonstration booths. In the first booth, a smartly clad young woman passed out news articles comparing the building to an aging dowager. In the second, a surgeon’s assistant provided before and after information on plastic surgery. In the final booth, Lacy was worked on by a Hollywood make up artist, becoming aged with prosthetics as the afternoon progressed. A long line of red chairs in the lobby opposite Lacy was slowly and stealthily filled by old women dressed in black. When her make-up was finished, the ten seated older women surrounded Lacy, pulled black clothes from their purses and tenderly dressed her. The transformation completed, Lacy and the women posed together in the tableau of red chairs before dispersing into the crowd. The following day, an audience for the next act of Inevitable Associations was seated in three circles— each one with a red chair for an older woman from the previous day’s performance. Part I, what was seen from the outside, was Lacy’s interpretation of aging. It was represented to this audience via slides of the first performance of transformation. Part II, what was experienced, then began with each of the three women talking directly about their lives after 60.
Performance curated by David Antin, Frantisek Deak and Allan Kaprow as part of the American Theater Association Conference, Biltmore Hotel, Los Angeles.