Dangerous Diane in her performance "The Drunk Monologues" directed by Russell Dobular at The St. Marks Theater, Manhattan, March & April 2001
photo by: Kimo DeSean

"Dangerous Diane" Spodarek

My first glimpse of Diane (she wasn't yet Dangerous Diane) was in the sculpture studio at Eastern Michigan University in the early 1970's. She was kneeling on the concrete floor of the studio intently plastering her underwear to a board to create a relief sculpture. Very soon after that she shifted her focus to multimedia works that grew directly out of her life as a young wife, mother and artist. Written works, file boxes full of catalogued observations, photographic aggregates, video, and sound filled her raw, insightful, and always disarmingly humorous take on the world.

Though I was interested in Diane's work from the start, it wasn't until after she graduated and became a prominent part of the Detroit art scene that we became close friends. During the 70's she was active in promoting not only her own work but that of other local artists. She organized a number of important exhibitions showcasing works by the cutting edge artists in the community and even convinced the curatorial staff of the somewhat traditional Detroit Institute of Arts of the importance of new works being produced in its own back yard and the need to exhibit them. The resulting exhibition, "New Video and Performance Art in Detroit" caused a considerable stir and is still remembered as a turning point in the community's view of contemporary art. With her husband, Randy Delbeke, she created the magazine "Detroit Artists Monthly" which was a vital organ for giving exposure to local artists as well as airing the views of well established NY artists and art critics through her regular hard hitting interviews.

In the late 70's rock and roll became a primary form in her work and she used the club venue and her band ("The Dangerous Diane Band" of course) with biting satirical lyrics to broaden the impact of her by now well focused critique of political, social, and gender issues in affluent late 20th century America.

In the early 80's Diane moved to New York City where she still lives. Writing, publishing, performing she remains very active in the NY art scene. Always restless for new means of projecting her vision, she has been studying acting and performing in "legitimate theater" productions for the past couple of years. Her recent performance, "The Drunk Monologues", first presented at The St. Marks Theater, combines aspects of traditional theater, artist's performance, and rock and roll to produce an edgy, semi autobiographical narrative.

It wasn't until 1984 at the suggestion of our mutual friend Tom Adair that Diane and I first collaborated in the production of a videotape. Our first tape, "No Pain No Gain" was awarded first prize in a statewide exhibition four days after it was completed. That encouragement and the fact that we found that we worked very well together prompted us to continue the collaboration and in the next few years we produced a dozen more videotapes and one performance together.

So here's to my long time friend and some time art partner Dangerous Diane.