Mark your calendars – Karen Finley at UMBC on 9/5! UMBC’s Department of Visual Arts is pleased to present Venus in Retrograde by celebrated performance artist Karen Finley. Against a backdrop of film projections, Finley narrates a poetic call to action in resistance to today’s times. The performance explores loss of love, dignity, and humanity, and issues a call to beat back with an exquisite heart. The two-part performance will be followed by a Q&A, book signing and reception. Truly an unforgettable night at UMBC. To purchase tickets, click here.
What: UMBC Presents Karen Finley: Venus in Retrograde
When: Thursday, September 5 at 7pm
Where: UMBC is located about 10 minutes south of the Inner Harbor along I-95. The Fine Arts Recital Hall is located in the Fine Arts Building. Free parking for the event can be found in Lot 8, across from the Performing Arts and Humanities Building.
Details: UMBC’s Department of Visual Arts presents Karen Finley: Venus in Retrograde. This performance examines loss of love, dignity, and humanity, and issues a call to beat back with an exquisite heart. Standing against a backdrop of film projections, Finley narrates a poetic call to action in resistance to today’s times. The performance is in two parts. In Part One, Grabbing Pussy, against a sequence of opening floral abstractions, Finley offers a breathless cascade of a poetic narrative that lays bare the psychosexual obsessions that have burst to the surface of today’s American politics. The performance illustrates the psychic splitting of consciousness as Finley considers embodiment and the invasion of the self, featuring selections from her provocative recent book of the same name. In Part Two, Parts Known – the political is personal, the personal is political – she examines the price and pain of personal tragedy amidst a political landscape of psychic dimensions. Finley responds to the horrific separation of families at the border and the psychic trauma of people kept in cages and children left behind, amidst backgrounds of celebrity suicides such as Anthony Bourdain’s and Kate Spade’s and the children they left. In particular, Finley will of course embody the recent verbal attacks on Baltimore and call upon the inspiration of Baltimore’s great legacy of resistance.
Both works, under the title Venus in Retrograde, expand on Finley’s career-long pursuit of performativley 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 1980s and 1990s (We Keep Our Victims Ready), her acting as plaintiff in the National Endowment for the Arts v. Finley after the NEA vetoed her grant in 1990, her criticism of homophobia (Written in Sand), and her work in the areas of reproductive rights, anti-war actions, and public memorials. 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.
The performance will be immediately followed by a Q&A discussion with the artist; then a book signing and reception.
For additional information, visit https://artscalendar.umbc.edu/karen-finley-venus-in-retrograde/
Tickets: General Admission / Seniors: $10; free ticket reservation online with UMBC ID (current students, faculty, staff.)
Karen Finley is a performer, artist, writer, musician, poet, teacher and lecturer, and recipient of two Obies, two Bessies, a Guggenheim, and multiple grants from the NEA and NYSCA. In 1990, Finley became an unwilling symbol for the NEA when she, along with Tim Miller, Holly Hughes, and John Fleck, sued the NEA for withdrawing grants on the grounds of indecency. The controversial case went all the way to the Supreme Court. She has toured and exhibited internationally, published eight books, and her art is in the collection of the Centre Pompidou in Paris and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, among other places. Finley is a professor in the department of Art and Public Policy at Tisch School of the Arts, New York University.
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