|Ron Athey in performance|
This weekend, the Walker Art Center, the University of Minnesota, and Patrick's Cabaret are taking a look back at the infamous piece performance artist Ron Athey did at Patrick's Cabaret 21 years ago. Sponsored by the Walker Art Center, the work was presented at the height of the AIDS crisis. "Four Scenes in a Harsh Life" involved flesh incisions and blood-soaked cloths raised into the air. It shocked audiences, and caused a national outcry. There was a call for censorship by the likes of Jesse Helms, and other conservatives were hell bent on getting rid of public funding for the arts.
This week, the Culture Wars: Then and Now begins with a discussion at the Walker Art Center
tonight. It will feature Ron Athey, as well as former Walker Art Center curator John Killacky and art historian Jennifer Doyle. Feminist/queer theory scholar and art historian Lauren DeLand will moderate. On Friday, the University will be holding a symposium
during the day, and over at Patrick's Cabaret
local artists will investigate themes of censorship, contemporary queer aesthetics, and radical embodied performance on Friday and Saturday.
In anticipation for this weekend's events, we chatted with Ron Athey.