Grabbing Pussy: In this impassioned poetic monologue, celebrated performance artist Karen Finley stands as a voice for the embodied rage that refuses to endure the authority and terror of bodies controlled -- whether objectified, legislated, policed, desired or violated by force, racism and sexism. Finley employs elevated experimental language to delve into the use of language itself as a weapon to inflame and shame. Haunting vintage film montages and timelapse projections symbolically envision going places and the memories of getting places. The Political is Personal.
Parts Known: In this new work, Finley responds to the anguish of forced family separations at borders, and the suicides of New Yorkers Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade, while invoking her own challenges following her father’s suicide as she explores the “left and abandoned” children. Through the complexity, struggle, vulnerability and strength of the psyche, Finley searches for inspiration in our history of individuals living through difficult times and making a difference. What does that search mean for us here, together? The resistance of not giving up, of moving forward with the experience of others before us and their examples of activism of the past. In this testament is our collective histories. We as a people have the wisdom -- we know how to resist, transform and move forward. The Personal is Political.
Both works expand on Finley’s career-long pursuit of performatively articulating the injustices committed by the U.S. government and society at large -- an undertaking spanning her commentary on the rise of HIV and AIDS in the 80s (We Keep Our Victims Ready), her acting as plaintiff in National Endowment for the Arts v. Finley after the NEA vetoed her grant in 1990, and her criticism of homophobia (The Father In All of Us). These narratives, and many more across her body of work, position underrepresented voices and struggles as an always central component to her practice -- a commitment as crucial as ever in today’s precarious political landscape. Performance Photo by Dona Ann McAdams