From Reverence to Rape to Respect (1978)
Suzanne Lacy, Leslie Labowitz, Kathy Kauffman and Claudine King
Modeled after Lacy’s Three Weeks in May, From Reverence to Rape to Respect was an extended performance on the objectification and exploitation of women in Las Vegas, Nevada, a situation that supported a rape culture. A media campaign including two billboards, local press coverage, and a half-hour PBS documentary, created broad community exposure to the issues of the performance. As was typical of these early platforms for multiple discourses, other artists were invited to participate. Labowitz designed a media event in front of one billboard by Las Vegas artist Deborah Feldman. The Feminist Art Workers created Traffic in Women, a bus tour/performance that brought fifty women from the Los Angeles women’s building and art community to Las Vegas for one of the weekend events. The Los Angeles City Council passed a notice of commendation delivered to the Las Vegas City Council, recognizing that the artists’ work served as a moment to explore sexual violence in that region. The event included a daylong conference that included Margo St. James, founder of the COYOTE prostitutes union, an art exhibition in the University gallery on the theme of violence with Nancy Buchanan’s performance Deer Dear, Proof Positive by Kathy Kauffman and Lacy’s There are Voices in the Desert.
This project was part of the Ariadne series of works.