Roles Recast: Eleanor Antin and the 1970s


Luce/ACLS Dissertation Fellowships in American Art


Department of Art History and Archaeology


This dissertation provides the first book-length study devoted to the pivotal San Diego-based artist Eleanor Antin (b. 1935). The project focuses on Antin’s work from 1965 to 1979, which demands that the standard segregations between the categories of Conceptual art, Performance art, and Feminist art be reconsidered. Antin’s performance-based Conceptualism from these years provides a model of art informed by feminism that acts as a set of embodied political positions; importantly, these positions evade the confines of style or time that have tended to structure feminist art history. This study of Antin sheds light on new geneaologies that account for some of the most influential interdisciplinary artists of the 1970s and situates these artists as “missing links” between two crucial moments in American art: Conceptualism in the 1960s and postmodernist performance-based practice in the 1980s.