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Sisters Of Survival Paperback – September 21, 2011
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Clothing themselves in marvelous costumes from history and their imagination, they performed in shopping malls, buses, public spaces, and museums and galleries throughout the United States and in Europe. They privileged consciousness-raising over creation of objects and as Tirza True Latimer so clearly stated in her essay entitled "FAW and Fun," "This called into question the very standards of Western artistic excellence: elite gallery representation, solo shows, the creation of art for display and investment."
And, best of all, they had fun, lots of it, in generating innovative performance containers for their social messages, often including hilarious double entendre, and outrageous street scenarios. They were original, witty, daring and moving and helped to open the door to subsequent performance groups to do anything they could dream up in behalf of manifesting their ideas. This book is a must-read for anyone interested in the contribution of artists to the new genre of performance art during the formative years of its history.
Sheila Pinkel, Emeritus Professor of Art
Art and Art History Department
Pomona College, Claremont, California
This volume documents the work of "Sisters of Survival," a group of performance artists who addressed the threat of nuclear catastrophe that loomed at the end of the Cold War. Founding members Jerri Allyn, Nancy Angelo, Anne Gauldin, Cheri Gaulke and Sue Maberry shared the goals of other Feminist Studio Workshop collectives in which they also participated: to wield direct political influence through effective performance art. In highly visible and publicized performances, the women dressed as nuns in rainbow-colored habits and deployed semaphore flags, sending a visual S.O.S. to dramatize the danger of nuclear war. A major project, End of the Rainbow, prompted a dialogue between European and American anti-war protesters, and had international impact. Essays, chronologies, and numerous photographs enrich this valuable text.
The collective documentary importance of this and the other books in the Otis series is inestimable, and no library should be without them. Teachers and students of women's art history will value them as well, not only for the essential information they contain, but for the rebellious and playful vitality, outrageous humor, and boldness of vision that erupt through the facts and images on every page, to tell and show later generations what it was like to participate in one of the great social and artistic movements of our history.
Norma Broude and Mary D. Garrard
Professors Emerita, American University
Authors of The Power of Feminist Art: The American Movement of the 1970s, History and Impact