'Professor' Bruce Lacey was born in London and left school at 13. He began painting while hospitalised for tuberculosis
in his teens and went on to study at Hornsey College of Art and the Royal College of Art. After college he gave up painting
for sculpture, making props for Spike Milligan and Michael Bentine(there was one where invisible fleas appeared to climb a
ladder, walk along a tightrope twirling a cocktail umbrella, and dive into a water tank), and creating a series of robots.
Lacey appeared in a music group called the Alberts in the 1950s and 60s and in later years has turned almost exclusively to
Lacey was glad when the term 'performance art' was coined, 'because it finally explained what I'd been doing all my life'.
The son of a house painter and a milliner, Lacey had grown up in Lewisham, influenced by variety theatre.
He had a one-man show and featured in a group called the Alberts, in their show 'An Evening of British Rubbish'.
He was in a movie with Peter Sellers and was filmed playing the electrified spokes of a penny farthing by Ken Russell.
His robots were exhibited at Gallery One and then the Marlborough. They included The Womaniser , now owned by the Tate
Gallery, which was inspired by 'wondering what it would be like to be a hermaphrodite and make love to myself. It had six
breasts and rubber gloves that inflated every 30 seconds'. Critics described his work as neo-Dada, 'which surprised me because
I didn't know what Dada was. At the Royal College, art history had stopped with the Impressionists.'
Some of the work was politically inspired: he did a piece resembling a refugee camp, with hands straining to get through
bamboo; some was comical, like Rosa Bosom, who played the female lead to his d'Artagnan in the Alberts' version of The Three
Musketeers at the Royal Court.
In 1968 Lacey showed both Rosa Bosom and her mate (Mate) in his ICA exhibition, 'Cybernetic Serendipity'. This show also
included his sex simulator, a kind of capsule that tilted its occupant to the accompaniment of 'non-specific erotic images.
Meanwhile, through a sheet of red rubber, rollers ran over your breasts and a soft thing would fall into your crotch and vibrate'.
Lord Snowdon tried it. Generally speaking, Lacey says, women liked it more than men.
In the late Sixties Lacey moved to Wymondham in Norfolk, where he has lived ever since in a farmhouse full of stuffed dummies
and robots, including Rosa Bosom - 'who still performs'. He became interested in earth rituals in the Seventies, enacting
them at medieval-style fairs; he thinks of these as being related to the magic that happens when artists get ideas and inspiration,
'almost like a form of telepathy'.
Early in 2004 the sculpture collection of Leeds Museums and Galleries acquired one of Lacey's assemblages, Old Money
Bags (1964). The machine is triggered by shouting into it. Lacey likes to say: 'Get to work, you bastard.' The cogs start
turning and two-shilling pieces move through the heart like white corpuscles.
One of his funniest works is called Market Cross in a Snowstorm and involved painting-by-numbers a picture
of Market Cross, wearing a snowsuit. 'But every number was 17, which is white, so I ended up with a white sheet of paper.'
Produced by William Donaldson and
Professor Bruce Lacey, The Alberts,
Ivor Cutler, Joyce Grant.
Directed by Gordon Flemyng.
Comedy Theatre, London - 24 January, 1963
- Morse Code Melody and Scena
- Penny Farthing
- Woman Singer
- Cooking Act
- Wooden Ball
- Magic Lantern
- Dustbin Dance and Song
- Ivor Cutler of Y'hup, O.M.P.
- Yellow Bird and Custard Pie Machine
- Electric Actors
- Anatomy of Humour
- Only Girl in the World
- Fire Eater
- Blaze Away Production Number
- Tiger Rag
- Irish Opera
- Dance with a Dummy
- Peter and Cello
- Knife Throwing
- Scoon Control
- Sheik of Araby
- Indian Fakir and Oriental Orange Joke
- Ivor Cutler of Y'hup, O.M.P.
- Victorian Strip Tease
- Talking Picture
- Flight of Bumble Bee Mime
- Wagnerian Woman Singer
- Inventor's Act
- Man in Cannon and Cabinet Joke
- Merry Quiz
- Try your Strength Machine and Mess
- Dolly Gray
- Grand Finale
|<<<<< who is over there
Daily activities such as washing
and dressing are often shown in
paintings, but only rarely provide
the central focus of a film.in this
12:41 1971 short Lacey and
Jill Bruce show us how it's done
from the Tate Gallery collection
for this we'll let Chris Stephens,
with Jann Howarth, Don McCullin,
Colin Self, John Dunbar, Gerald Laing,
Bruce Lacey, Barry Flanagan,
Frank Bowling and Peter Blake, explain
this one.courtesy of The Tate Gallery,
in their Summer 2004 newsletter
were Bruce Lacey, Tony Gray and
his brother Dougie Gray. In the late
50s/early 60s they put together an act
involving dressing in Victorian clothes
and playing a variety of strange
instruments and props. The Alberts
the first of the anarchists
music groups and had to be
seen/heard to be believed!
our take on this rubbish and
remember no herds of wild ostriches
here whatsoever and definitely
no rabbits.mothers of small
children please note, this page
is inedible.and yes this is linked
to this page of
we are all forever young