Cindy Sherman: Retrospective American artist Cindy Sherman creates staged and manipulated photographs that draw on popular culture and art history to explore female identity. Her art embodies two developments in the art world: the impact of postmodern theory on art practice; and the rise of…
Anderson is a pioneer in electronic music and has invented several devices that she has used in her recordings and performance art shows. In 1977, she created a tape-bow violin that uses recorded magnetic tape on the bow instead of horsehair and a magnetic tape head in the bridge. In the late 1990s, she developed a talking stick, a six-foot-long baton-like MIDI controller that can access and replicate different sounds.
Anderson married singer/songwriter and guitarist Lou Reed in 2008.[5
The tape-bow violin is an instrument created by Laurie Anderson in 1977. It uses recorded magnetic tape in place of the traditional horsehair in the bow, and a magnetic tape head in the bridge. Anderson has updated and modified this device over the years.
She can be seen using a later generation of this device in her film Home of the Brave during the “Late Show” segment in which she manipulates a sentence recorded by William S. Burroughs. This version of the violin discarded magnetic tape and instead used MIDI-based audio samples, triggered by contact with the bow.
The talking stick is a 6-foot-long baton-like MIDI controller. It was used in the Moby-Dick tour in 1999–2000. She described it in program notes as follows:
The Talking Stick is a new instrument that I designed in collaboration with a team from Interval Research and Bob Bielecki. It is a wireless instrument that can access and replicate any sound. It works on the principle of granular synthesis. This is the technique of breaking sound into tiny segments, called grains, and then playing them back in different ways. The computer rearranges the sound fragments into continuous strings or random clusters that are played back in overlapping sequences to create new textures. The grains are very short, a few hundredths of a second. Granular synthesis can sound smooth or choppy depending on the size of the grain and the rate at which they’re played. The grains are like film frames. If you slow them down enough, you begin to hear them separately.
A recurring motif in Anderson’s work is the use of a voice filter which deepens her voice into a masculine register, a technique which Anderson has referred to as “audio drag”. Anderson has long used the resulting character in her work as a “voice of authority" or conscience, although she later decided that he had lost much of his authority and instead began utilizing the voice to provide historical or sociopolitical commentary, as he does on “Another Day in America”, a piece from her 2010 album Homeland.
For much of Anderson’s career, the character was nameless or actually called the Voice of Authority, although more recently, he was dubbed Fenway Bergamot from Reed’s suggestion. The cover of Homeland depicts Anderson in character as Bergamot, with streaks of black makeup to give her a moustache and thick, masculine eyebrows.
In “The Cultural Ambassador”, a piece on her album The Ugly One with the Jewels, Anderson explained some of her perspective on the character:
(Anderson:) I was carrying a lot of electronics so I had to keep unpacking everything and plugging it in and demonstrating how it all worked, and I guess I did seem a little fishy — a lot of this stuff wakes up displaying LED program readouts that have names like Atom Smasher, and so it took a while to convince them that they weren’t some kind of espionage system. So I’ve done quite a few of these sort of impromptu new music concerts for small groups of detectives and customs agents and I’d have to keep setting all this stuff up and they’d listen for a while and they’d say: So uh, what’s this? And I’d pull out something like (Bergamot:) this filter, and say, now this is what I like to think of as the voice of authority. And it would take me a while to tell them how I used it for songs that were, you know, about various forms of control, and they would say, now why would you want to talk like that? And I’d look around at the SWAT teams, and the undercover agents, and the dogs, and the radio in the corner, tuned to the Super Bowl coverage of the war. And I’d say, take a wild guess.
They say that in 1842 on a plantation in Alabama The slaves unearthed a huge skeleton, the bones of a giant whale, a leviathan, from the time when all the world was covered with water from the Andes to the Himalayas and even Alabama was deep down under. And the slaves looked at the huge…
Born Eleanor Fineman in the Bronx, New York on February 27, 1935 her parents emigrated in the 1930s from Rusch, a tiny town in Poland. Her father, Sol Fineman (1910–2004), was a socialist and atheist who worked in the garment industry in New York. Her mother, Jeanette Efron (1912–1994), a former actress in the Yiddish theater in Poland, was a communist and a creative entrepreneur. She went by the name Jeanette Fineman until she divorced and married the Hungarian poet and artist, Peter Moor, (ne Barna Josef, 1895–1989) and was thereafter known as Jeanette Barna. Eleanor had one sister, Marcia Goodman (1940–2003).
Eleanor attended Music and Art High School in New York as an art major, and City College of New York (CCNY), where she majored in writing and minored in art. From 1954–1956, she studied philosophy at the New School for Social Research and studied acting at the Tamara Daykarhanova School for the Stage. She was registered in Actors Equity and worked as an actress under the stage name Eleanor Barrett. In her last year of college she accepted an acting job with a traveling road company in William Inge’s Bus Stop. During this period, 1955–1958, Antin worked in various projects on the stage, including a stint with Ossie Davis, and also supported herself modeling for painters.
In 1958, Antin returned to CCNY and earned a Bachelors degree in creative writing and art. There she met the writer and critic, David Antin, whom she married in 1961. Their son Blaise was born in 1967 and is named after Blaise Cendrars, the modern French poet, novelist and art critic. In 1968 the family moved from New York to Southern California, where David began teaching at the University of California in San Diego. Eleanor taught at the University of California in Irvine (UCI) from 1974–1975, and was a professor at the University of California in San Diego (UCSD) from 1975–2002.
Born in Saginaw, Michigan, Hughes graduated from Kalamazoo College in 1977 and moved to New York City two years later to become a feminist painter. She worked as a waitress to support herself but felt unfulfilled, later writing: “Why had I moved to New York City to live in an even crummier apartment and do the same things that I was doing in Kalamazoo?” She saw[when?] a poster promoting a “Double X-rated Christmas party” to be held in the basement of a Catholic church. There she found lesbian women stripping, kissing booths, and a highly sexual atmosphere. She eagerly attended many such parties, became involved with the group and began doing theater with them because “that’s what they were doing”. Hughes’ first performance at the Women’s One World Cafe (Wow Cafe) in the early 1980s was a piece called “My Life as a Glamour Don’t”, about various fashion mistakes. She followed this up with “Shrimp in a Basket” and then her breakthrough Well of Horniness (1983). At the WOW Cafe, Hughes felt that she was able to “tell the stories she so desperately wanted to be told as a child.”
Hughes wrote, directed and performed in Dress Suits to Hire (1989). Focusing on the subjects of sexuality, masturbation and Jesus, her plays usually explore issues that she confronted as a young woman in college. In 1990 Hughes earned national attention as one of the so-called NEA Four, artists whose funding from the National Endowment for the Arts (“NEA”) was vetoed. She addresses the NEA conrtoversy in her play Clit Notes.
In 1996, Hughes released perhaps her most famous and influential performances: Clit Notes. Much of this work can be viewed as autobiographical. In Clit Notes, Hughes performs several roles: herself at different ages, her mother, and various lovers that she has had. This is Hughes’ way of showing that her life and her art are one in the same and exist in a symbiotic relationship. Her writing is a way for Hughes’ to explore herself and to understand the events that have shaped her life, often using her writing to escape from elements that she perceives as repressive. She started her career as a performance artist in O Solo Homo (1998). It has been argued that she is influenced by Sam Shepard.
“You know who ladies are, don’t you?
Ladies are the people who will not let my girlfriend use the public ladies room, thinking she’s not a woman. But are they going to let her into the men’s restroom? Nope. Because they don’t think she’s a man, either.
If she’s not a woman and she’s not a man, what the hell is she?
Once I asked my father what fire was, a liquid, a gas, or a solid, and he said it wasn’t any one of those things. Fire isn’t a thing; it’s what happens to things. A force of nature. That’s what he called it.
Well maybe that’s what she is. A force of nature. I’ll tell you something: she is something that happened to me.”—Holly Hughes, Clit Notes (via fuckitfireeverything)
A native of the French Louisiana countryside with a doctorate in Performance Studies from NYU, Lenora Champagne thrives on urban life but more frequently writes about the dramas of women and men who live in a more direct relationship to nature. She came to New York to be a painter, but found her voice in performance. Champagne, who often collaborates with sculptors, composers and media artists, has been making work as a performance artist, playwright, and director since 1981. December 2011 marks the thirtieth anniversary of her work as a performance and theatre artist.
Champagne’s awards for her work include fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts in Performance Art and Playwriting.
With composer Daniel Levy, she received a Richard Rodgers Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters for The Singing: a cyberspace opera. She has received three fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts (in solo performance, directing, and an artist’s residency in Canada), commissions and project support from the New York State Council on the Arts, residencies at the MacDowell Colony and Yaddo, and support from the DCA and the Peg Santvoord, Jerome, Puffin and Joyce Mertz Gilmore Foundations and the Franklin Furnace Fund for Performance Art. Her work has been commissioned by Dance Theatre Workshop and Creative Time, among others. She is a member of PEN, an alumna of New Dramatists and was a HARP artist at HERE Arts Center, where she developed TRACES/fades, an intergenerational performance with music and video that is a meditation on memory, loss and our national inability to remember history.
Champagne’s publications include Out from Under: Texts by Women Performance Artists and performance texts, plays and essays published by Smith & Krauss and in Plays and Playwrights 2009, Performing Arts Journal, Performance Research, Women and Performance Journal, Chain and The Iowa Review. She is Professor of Theatre and Performance at Purchase College, SUNY.
“I’m interested in perception - in how the world looks depending on where you stand to see, and on what you’re looking for. I’m interested in representation - how the aesthetic portrayal of individuals and groups gives a picture of their "value" in society. I’m interested in language (words, images, movement) as a means to play with and affect perception and representation. With my intricate stories metaphors, I aim to move audiences both intellectually and emotionally - to challenge them to think and feel about the complex ways in which we are implicated in each other’s stories, and in the larger society.”—Lenora Champagne
Born in 1936 in New York City, Joan Jonas is a pioneer of video and performance art and one of the most important female artists to emerge in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
She began her career in New York City as a sculptor. By 1968 she moved into what was then leading-edge territory: mixing performance with props and mediated images, situated outside in natural and/or industrial environments. In her early works, such as Wind (1968), Jonas filmed performers stiffly passing through the field of view against a wind that lent the choreography a psychological mystique. Songdelay(1973), filmed with both telephoto and wide-angle lenses (which produce opposing extremes in depth of field) drew on Jonas’ travels in Japan, where she saw groups of Noh performers clapping wood blocks and making angular movements.
Jonas’ video performances between 1972 and 1976 pared the cast down to one actor, the artist herself performing in her New York loft as Organic Honey, her seminal alter-ego invented as an “electronic erotic seductress,” whose doll-like visage seen reflected bits on camera explored the fragmented female image and women’s shifting roles. Drawings, costumes, masks, and interactions with the recorded image were effects that optically related to a doubling of perception and meaning. For Jonas, inOrganic Honey and earlier performances, the mirror became a symbol of (self-)portraiture, representation, the body, and real vs. imaginary, while also sometimes adding an element of danger and a connection to the audience that was integral to the work.
In 1976 with The Juniper Tree, Jonas arrived at a narrative structure from diverse literary sources, such as fairy tales, mythology, poetry, and folk songs, formalizing a highly complex, nonlinear method of presentation. Using a colorful theatrical set and recorded sound, The Juniper Tree retold aGrimm Brothers tale of an archetypal evil stepmother and her family. In the 1990s, Jonas’ My New Theater series moved away from a dependence on her physical presence. The three pieces investigated, in sequence: a Cape Breton dancer and his local culture; a dog jumping through a hoop while Jonas draws a landscape; and finally, using stones, costumes, memory-laden objects, and her dog, a video about the act of performing.
In her installation/performance commissioned for Documenta 11, Lines in the Sand (2002), Jonas investigated themes of the self and the body in a performance installation based on the writer H.D.’s (Hilda Doolittle) epic poem “Helen in Egypt” (1951–55), which reworks the myth of Helen of Troy. Jonas sited many of her early performances at The Kitchen, including Funnel (1972) and the screening of Vertical Roll (1972).
In The Shape, The Scent, The Feel of Things, produced by The Renaissance Society in 2004, Jonas draws on Aby Warburg’s study of Hopi imagery. Jonas sees something of a parallel between herself and Warburg who compared diverse geographical and chronological cultures through an analysis of abstract imagery taken from their various artifacts. Drawing on sources ranging from Noh to Nordic theater, from the Brothers Grimm toHomer, Jonas extrapolates the magic of universal narratives from the most quotidian of circumstances so that she, as well as we, may become the heroes and heroines, victims and villains of the myth of self and origin.
Jonas’ works were first performed in the 1960s and ’70s for some of the most influential artists of her generation, including Richard Serra, Robert Smithson, Dan Graham and Laurie Anderson. While she is widely known in Europe, her groundbreaking performances are lesser known in the United States, where, as critic Douglas Crimp wrote of her work in 1983, “the rupture that is effected in modernist practices has subsequently been repressed, smoothed over.” Yet, in restaging early and recent works, Jonas continues to find new layers of meanings in themes and questions ofgender and identity that have fueled her art for over thirty years.
The Queens Museum of Art exhibited “Joan Jonas: Five Works” from December 2003 through March 2004. It was the first major exhibition of Jonas’s work in a New York museum. The exhibition included a video room as well as a survey of drawings, photographs, and sketchbooks. Curated by Valerie Smith, QMA Director of Exhibitions, the exhibition catalog can be seen here: 
Her works include: Organic Honey’s Visual Telepathy (1972), The Juniper Tree (1976), Volcano Saga (1985), Revolted by the Thought of Known Places… (1992), Woman in the Well (1996/2000), her portable My New Theater series (1997–1999), Lines in the Sand (2002), and The Shape, The Scent, The Feel of Things (2004).
(born January 18, 1942, Saugerties, New York) is a central figure in contemporary performance art. She was raised in a devoutly Roman Catholic household, partly Irish and partly Italian, that was surrounded by artistic activity. Both her parents played in an orchestra but Linda’s fascination with Catholic ritual and desire to do humanitarian service led her to join the novitiate of the Maryknoll Sisters after one year studying at the College of New Rochelle. After two years with the order, however, Montano was suffering from severe anorexia, weighing only 80 pounds (36 kg), and she left the order to return to her former college, from which she graduated in 1965 as a sculptor.
During the rest of the 1960s, Linda continued to study and began performing, and by 1971 she was devoting herself exclusively to performance art. Around this time she married the photographer Mitchell Payne. During this period, Montano drifted away from the Catholic Church, but despite this loss of faith, Montano was consistently to acknowledge the influence of her strict Catholic upbringing on her work - for instance in how the discipline of convent life and her family’s loyal work-ethic made her able to carry out extremely disciplined performances in her later career. Montano’s first major performance, Chicken Woman (1972) was based on her MFA sculpture show at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. There she exhibited nine live chickens in three 8-foot (2.4 m) by 16-foot-long (4.9 m) minimalist chicken wire cages on the roof of the art building. It was titled “The Chicken Show” from 1969.
Linda had moved to San Francisco 1970 with her husband, and it was there that she established herself with performances like “Handcuff” (1973 with Tom Marioni) where she was physically tied to other artists, and “Three Day Blindfold” (1974), where she lived for three days blindfolded and had to find her way around. The death of her husband led to further exploration of art as a healing modality (“Mitchells’ Death”, 1978) and she continued her art-theology dialogue by living in a Zen monastery for three years and to Ananda Ashram in the 1980s where she studied with Dr. Ramamurti Mishra for over 30 years. His influence and appreciation of her vision encouraged both her art and life. Upon meeting Taiwanese performance artist Tehching Hsieh, they performed a collaboration whereby the two artists were bound to each other by a length of rope 24 hours a day for a whole year (from July 4, 1983 to July 3, 1984).
In the following seven years Montano did another ambitious project titled “Seven Years of Living Art”, in which she lived in her home in Kingston wearing strictly monochromatic clothing, spent a portion of every day in a coloured room, and listened to a designated tone, all of which corresponded to the energetic qualities of a specific chakra. She changed colour every year, and after the project was finished followed it up with “Another Seven Years of Living Art”, in part to memorialise her mother, Mildred Montano, who died in 1988 of colon cancer. This time she did not use the colours, but aimed to focus on the same chakras. From 1998, Montano has given cycles to other artists,(MICHELLE BUSH, BARBARA CARRELLAS, SC DURKIN, KOOSIL-JA HWANG, VERNITA N’COGNITA, ESTHER K. SMITH, KRISTA KELLY WALSH, with satalite projects by VICTORIA SINGH & KURTIS CHAMPION and ELIZABETH STEPHENS & ANNIE SPRINKLE ) hoping to give three cycle to three arts each dating up to 2019. After this, Montano focused upon freelance teaching of performance art, caring for Henry Montano (her increasingly ill father) and counseling people again practicing “Art/Life Counseling”, a technique she used for seven years at The New Museum where curator Marcia Tucker had built a private room and allowed Montano to counsel people once a month in the window installation which was painted the same color that Montano wore for that year. At that time (1984–1991) Montano used tarot, palm and psychic readings as tools of discovery as well as attentive listening so that she could respond to the questions of her clients and she intended to find the most creative way to respond to their problems and difficulties. (Currently Montano still does “Art/Life/Laugher Counseling” but without the assistance of tarot, palm and psychic readings because they are forbidden by her current practice of Catholicism).
The influence of her father led Montano to return to Catholicism and ultimately to Church attendance, and since 2005 she has taken gathered prayer requests to more than ten Catholic pilgrimage sites throughout the world. Montano also meets with others in Catholic Churches for 3 hours silent retreats, re-seeing the concept of endurance from new Catholic-eyes. Since returning to Catholicism, Montano has made numerous videos exploring the faith, including Father Lebar: Catholic Priest and Exorcist; Saint Teresa Of Avila By Linda Mary Montano, and currently Mother Teresaof Calcutta. She also performs three-hour endurances, lip-syncing as Paul McMahon and Bob Dylan.
Her work investigates the relationship between art and life through intricate, life-altering ceremonies, some of which last for seven or more years. She is interested in the way artistic ritual, often staged as individual interactions or collaborative workshops, can be used to alter and enhance a person’s life and to create the opportunity for focus on spiritual energy states, silence and the cessation of art/life boundaries.
is an American performance artist who primarily works in the Los Angeles area.
She started her career in the late 1970s as musician in the punk scene. Music is still an important element of her shows. She has often worked with musician Mark Wheaton, whose fast, rhythmic music beats provide the background noise in several of her performances. Further predominant elements of Went’s shows are the use of elaborate costumes, which Went herself creates from various found objects, and the use of artificial blood. The latter played an especially important role in her early work. Went’s performances are not strictly text-based. She typically works based on a sketch that determines the rough sequence of actions, but leaves much room for improvisation. Went rarely uses language in her shows as means of communication. She rather sings, screams, whines and murmurs, thus rendering large parts of the spoken words incomprehensible.
In a typical show Went goes through several costume changes, dances, jumps around, sings, plays with often very big props that she frequently tears apart and tosses into the auditorium. Several of her shows culminate in the pouring of artificial blood over her own body, costumes and props. Went’s performances thus could be said to foreground the aesthetic quality of fast, spontaneous bodily movement and the material quality of voice and words. The creation of a certain dynamic or energy on stage as well as a certain formalist concern with the quality of colors and material take priority over conveying any particular message.
Critics have frequently characterized Went’s shows as “chaotic”, “wild” or “shocking”. Her work is often seen in context of other women artists of the 1980s whose performances are regarded as daring and transgressive, such as Karen Finley, Lydia Lunch, Diamanda Galas or Dancenoise.
She appeared in two films by directors Scott B and Beth B. In the Black Box (1978) she played a dominatrix, and in Vortex (1983) she played a private detective named Angel Powers. During this time, she also appeared in a number of films by Vivienne Dick, including She Had Her Gun All Ready (1978) and Beauty Becomes The Beast (1979), co-starring with Pat Place.
In the mid-1980s she formed her own recording and publishing company called “Widowspeak" on which she continues to release her own material, from music to spoken word.
Lunch formed the band Big Sexy Noise in 2009 with James Johnston and Terry Edwards (both members of the band Gallon Drunk). A six-track eponymous EP was released on June 1, 2009 through Sartorial Records. The EP included a cover of Lou Reed's song “Kill Your Sons” and “The Gospel Singer”, a song co-written with Kim Gordon. In 2010 she released, with Big Sexy Noise, their first album. In 2011, they released Trust The Witch, her second album with Big Sexy Noise. For both albums, Lydia Lunch and her band have made concert tours around the world.
"We don’t have a clue what it is to be male or female, or if there are intermediate genders. Male and female might be fields which overlap into androgyny or different kinds of sexual desires. But because we live in a Western, patriarchal world, we have very little chance of exploring these gender possibilities."
"Literature is that which denounces and slashes apart the repressing machine at the level of the signified."
"The students who come to my class are very closely related to all the evil girls who are very interested in their bodies and sex and pleasure. I learn a lot from them about how to have pleasure and how cool the female body is. One of my students had apiercingthrough herlabia. And she told me about how when you ride on amotorcycle, the little bead on the ring acts like avibrator. Her story turned me on so I did it. I got two. It was very cool. I’m very staid compared to my students, actually. I come from a generation where you’ve got thePCdykesand confusedheterosexuals. No one ever told me that you could walk around with astrap-on, havingorgasms.”