Oral Histories

Interview of Nancy Angelo

Performance and video artist. Involved in the Women’s Building, a center for feminist art in Los Angeles.
Women's Activist Lives
Social Movements
Women's Issues
Biographical Note:
Performance and video artist. Involved in the Women’s Building, a center for feminist art in Los Angeles.
Gordienko, Andrey
Angelo, Nancy
Persons Present:
Angelo and Gordienko.
Place Conducted:
Angelo’s house in San Anselmo, California.
Supporting Documents:
Research relating to the interview are located in the office of UCLA Library's Center for Oral History Research.
Interviewer Background and Preparation:
The interview was conducted by Andrey Gordienko, doctoral candidate in Cinema and Media Studies, UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television; Graduate Student Researcher at the Center for the Study of Women, UCLA.
Processing of Interview:
The transcript is a verbatim transcription of the recording. It was transcribed by a professional transcribing agency using a list of proper names and specialized terminology supplied by the interviewer. Angelo was then given an opportunity to review the transcript and make corrections and additions. Those corrections were entered into the text without further editing or review on the part of the Center for Oral History Research staff.
5 hrs.
Regents of the University of California, UCLA Library.
Series Statement:
Women’s Activist Lives in Los Angeles is a series of interviews done by graduate research assistants under the auspices of UCLA’s Center for the Study of Women. The series addresses the diverse ways in which women’s social movement activities affected public policy and transformed civic institutions such as education, social services, and the art world in Los Angeles. Several of the oral histories also focus on individuals who were involved with the June L. Mazer Lesbian Archives, which the Center for the Study of Women was involved in bringing to UCLA Library Special Collections at the time the oral histories were being done.
Angelo’s childhood in Carson City, Nevada—Her father’s background—Her parents’ views on religion—More on family background—Moves to Switzerland at the age of 7—On being close to her father—On doing household chores and learning to work hard—Enduring sickness and loss of vision during childhood—Has a great deal of independence as a child, explores the city of Brussels and its history—Learns about Jewish history in Belgium and the Holocaust experience—Comes to identify with European culture—Attends high school in the U.S. and engages in community service programs—Repressive environment at high school and restricted private life—Enters University of California, Santa Cruz and encounters the hippie culture—After one year of college, goes to Denmark to study photography—Her close friend is murdered by a serial killer—Angelo leaves college and travels back to Europe to work at International Union for Conservation of Nature—First experiences with filmmaking and feminist activism at UC Santa Cruz—Decides to become a filmmaker while studying in Europe—Encounters participants in feminist art movement while at San Francisco Art Institute—Her relationship with Bernard Meares—Decides to move to Los Angeles to attend Feminist Studio Workshop—Falling in love with a woman for the first time—Defines the nature of feminist art as it was taught at the Woman’s Building—Building the Woman’s Building—Structure of consciousness-raising groups—On resistance to abstract modernist art and the emergence of performance art—Presence of men at the Woman’s Building—The significance of collaboration in performance art—Performance as “public art” targeting violence issues—On the tension between lesbian and heterosexual women—On the marginal presence of ethnic women in the Women’s Movement—Class tensions in the Women’s Movement.
On the Feminist Art Workers (FAW), Angelo’s first performance art group—FAW’s early performance piece, Draw Your Own Conclusions—Another FAW piece, Pieta Afloat—The significance of Angelo’s character, Sister Angelica Furiosa—The ritualistic aspect of feminist performance art—Learning to work in video—On teaching and promoting video art—On the relationship between video and performance art—Equal Time, Equal Space video piece—Nun and Deviant—Collaborations with other artists—“Oral Herstory of Lesbianism”—On gay rights activism—The exhibition “Bedtime Stories.”