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PST: Barbara T. Smith's life in the avant-garde shadows
PST: Barbara T. Smith's life in the avant-garde shadows

The coffee table in Barbara T. Smith's Venice home is piled high with aging cassette tapes. She's been sorting through audio from a 1981 performance piece called "Birthdaze" in preparation for "The Radicalization of a '50s Housewife," her upcoming solo show at UC Irvine's University Art Gallery. The piece, originally performed on Smith's 50th birthday, was a feminist tour de force in which she enacted a version of her own life story in relation — quite literally — to the male avant-garde. It began in a lewd tussle with fellow performance artists Paul McCarthy and Kim Jones; proceeded into a kind of love triangle with artist Allen...

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