- Susan McClary
(b Chicago, June 5, 1947). American performance artist and composer. Although she played the violin from childhood, she received her formal training in the visual arts (Barnard College, BA 1969; Columbia University, MFA 1972). During the 1970s she became one of the most celebrated practitioners of performance art. Her work has incorporated graphics, lighting, sculpture, mime, slides, film, speech, music and many electronic devices, some of her own design. By 1976 her performances were featured prominently in museums and concert venues across Europe and North America.
The first phase of Anderson's career culminated in the seven-hour work, United States, I-IV, performed at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in 1983. Hailed as a landmark by postmodernist theorists, the work was regarded as thematizing the contradictions and tensions of late-capitalist society. Against a backdrop of stylish visuals, she played electronically enhanced violins, sang, mimed, controlled an elaborate bank of electronic devices and recited her own witty, yet disturbing poetry, that hovers between scathing social criticism and ironic self-parody. Much of her work comments on the alienation produced by contemporary culture, but at the same time self-consciously relies on the very technological mediation it appears to lament....