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The Reality Showsby Karen Finley
Synopses & Reviews
"Ms. Finley hasn't lost the power to disturb."and#151;Ben Brantley, The New York Times
No other contemporary performing artist has captured the psychological complexity of this decade's political and social milestones as Karen Finley has in the past ten years. In her inimitable style, Finley has embodied some of the most troubling figures to cast a long shadow on the public imagination, and has envisioned a kind of catharsis within each drama: Liza Minnelli responds to the September 11 attacks; Terri Schaivo explains why Americans love a woman in a coma; Martha Stewart dumps George W. Bush during their tryst on the eve of the Republican National Convention; Silda Spitzer tells the former governor why "I'm sorry" just isn't enough; Jackie O cries, "Please stop looking at me!"
The Reality Shows is a revelation of a decade by one of our greatest interpreters of popular and political culture.
Karen Finley's raw and transgressive performances have long provoked controversy and debate. She has appeared and exhibited her visual art, performances, and plays internationally. The author of many books, including A Different Kind Of Intimacy, George and Martha, and Shock Treatment, she is a professor at the Tisch School of Art and Public Policy at NYU.
Kathleen Hanna, activist and writer, was the lead singer of the punk band Bikini Kill before fronting the dance-punk band Le Tigre. She released a solo album under the name Julie Ruin.
"Finley (Shock Treatment) begins this showcase of recent work — performance, installation, conceptual, and visual art — with 'Make Love,' an homage to post-9/11 New York via 'a cabaret-driven, lounge-style act that channels Liza Minnelli,' who is used as a stand-in for the city and also to soften the subject for the audience. 'The Passion of Terri Schiavo' allows Finley to examine the 'political, ethical, and moral dilemmas' of the case, resulting in a feverish mantra told from multiple perspectives. The amusing 'George and Martha' imagines a love affair between George W. Bush and Martha Stewart as a highly-eroticized Freudian romp both disturbing and hilarious. In her foreword, Hanna recalls an early show by Finley as 'the most intensely vulnerable, perfectly crafted performance I'd ever seen,' akin to 'watching Patti Smith turn into Evel Knievel.' Reproducing performance pieces as text, says Hanna, 'lets you get at so many other layers of meaning.' True, but it also serves as a sort of artistic kryptonite, stripping away what gives Finley much of her power. Illus. (Mar.) Rother (Body Parts) returns with a new twisted true crime account about the brutal 2004 murders of Tom and Jackie Hawks, killed and hurled off their yacht near Newport Beach, CA. Skylar and Jennifer DeLeon were eventually convicted of the crime, and their tale reveals the unfortunate missteps and brutal upbringings that can lead a person to commit murder. Skylar, raised by two drug addicts in 'an absolutely screwed up family,' was brutally sexually assaulted by his father. Jennifer was a 'good girl' on the other hand, a fine student who had never known trouble. Together, Skylar and Jennifer ran a con to purchase the Hawkses' yacht, telling friends that they were 'coming into money.' But the twists and turns of this case seem to implicate almost everyone. Skyler has troubling sexual appetites and blames his estranged father; once incarcerated, he even attempts sexual mutilation. Gruesome episodes abound in the book and demand a strong stomach. Even a police officer involved with the case became 'physically ill' by certain salacious details. While Rother creates a vivid story, the book could easily be half as long and still retain its edge-of-the-seat quality. (Feb.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
The first decade of the new millennium brought to you by Americaand#8217;s pre-eminent and most notorious performance artist.
About the Author
Karen Finley is a New York-based artist whose raw and transgressive performances have long provoked controversy and debate. She has appeared and exhibited her visual art, performances and plays internationally. Her performances have been presented at Lincoln Center, New York City; The Guthrie, Minneapolis; American Repertory Theatre; The ICA in London; Harvard; The Steppenwolf in Chicago; and The Bobino in Paris. Her artworks are in numerous collections and museums including the Pompidou in Paris and Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.
She is the author of many books including Shock Treatment, Enough is Enough, Living It Up, Pooh Unplugged, A Different Kind Of Intimacy: The Collected Writings of Karen Finley, and George and Martha. She edited Aroused: A Collection of Erotic Writings.
Finley attended the San Francisco Art Institute receiving an MFA and honorary PhD. She has received numerous awards and fellowships including a Guggenheim, 2 Obies, 2 Bessies, Ms. magazine Woman of the Year, NARAL Person of the Year (which she shared with Anna Quindlen and Walter Cronkite), and NYSCA and NEA Fellowships. She has appeared in many independent films and appeared in the film Philadelphia.
Kathleen Hanna is a musician, feminist activist, and zine writer. In the 90s she was the lead singer of the punk band Bikini Kill, before fronting the dance-punk band Le Tigre. In 1998, Hanna released a solo album under the name Julie Ruin. She has collaborated with a wide variety of musicians, appearing on records with numerous artists, including Joan Jett, Mike Watt, Atari Teenage Riot, Comet Gain, Green Day, Tim Green, Metal Church, Helter Skillet, Internal/External and Yoko Ono.
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