The 7,000 Year Old Woman

Betsy Damon, The 7,000 Year Old Woman, New York City, 1977. Photograph taken by Su Friedrich.

Above: an arresting and exhilarating photo by Su Friedrich of Betsy Damon’s performance piece in Jennie Klein’s “Goddess: Feminist Art and Spirituality in the 1970s.” Klein’s essay is one of many in the wide-ranging, informative, eclectic and breezy read, West of Center: Art and the Counterculture Experiment in America, 1965-1977, edited by Elissa Auther and Adam Lerner (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2012).

Klein writes,

Betsy Damon’s The 7,000 Year Old Woman referenced the many-breasted Diana of Ephesus, associated with a Neolithic Goddess site in Turkey where she had lived as a child. Covered in small bags of colored flour that she ritualistically punctured in a public ceremony on Wall Street, Damon eventually formed a spiral/labyrinthine pattern on the ground. Damon based The 7,000 Year Old Woman on a dream that she had had years before. She resolved to realize the images in her dream.  (227)

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