The Crystal Quilt
2012-2013, Fifteen Weeks of Art in Action
The Tanks at Tate Modern, London, UK

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The Crystal Quilt (1985-1987) is one of several works by Lacy that explore the experience of aging, and specifically how aging women are represented in media and public opinion. The project was developed over a two year period during which Lacy created a lecture series, film screening, and media campaign in collaboration with Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD), The Humphrey Institute for Public Affairs and the Minnesota Board of Aging, Walker Art Center and At the Foot of the Mountain Theater. Her research process culminated in a large-scale performance installation on Mothers Day in the middle of a shopping center with a crystalline roof.

The performance featured 430 Minnesota women over the age of 60 seated at tables on an 82-square-foot rug designed by painter Miriam Shapiro to resemble a quilt. Speakers mixed personal observations and reminiscences with social analysis about the unutilized potential of the elderly. An accompanying soundtrack by composer Susan Stone mixed the voices of 75 women talking about aging. A loon cry or thunderclap rang through the space in ten minute intervals, signaling the women to change the position of their hands on the table, thus changing the design of the quilt.

The Crystal Quilt is now part of the Tate Modern's permanent collection. It was most recently on view from July 2012 - January 2013, for Fifteen Weeks of Art in Action, the inaugural exhibition of The Tanks at Tate Modern, the world’s first museum galleries dedicated to live art.



The Crystal Quilt exists as various scaled quilt representations, a photographic series and a single-channel color video. It is available for exhibitions and private collections. Please use the contact section on this site for more details.