Karen Finley is the latest artist to be singled out in the continued attacks on the financing policies of the National Endowment for the Arts.
She is a blunt, sometimes eloquent 33-year-old performance artist who sees her art as a vehicle for social change.
She wrote Shock Treatment, Enough Is Enough: Weekly Meditations for Living Dysfunctionally, the Martha Stewart satire Living It Up: Humorous Adventures in Hyperdomesticity, Pooh Unplugged (detailing the eating and psychological disorders of Winnie the Pooh and his friends), While Karen Finley was a student at the San Francisco Art Institute, she became immersed in the Bay Area's punk music scene, witnessing the emergence of the bands The Dils and the Dead Kennedys.Her intimate bantering with the audience was almost too much, and one found oneself fearing that she would fly off the handle at any moment.She seemed stifled, slightly ill at ease, almost hysterical.She is alone; her hunched posture seemingly strains under the compression of the stack of surrounding boxes.A forced observer, the plate continues to document her defeat.
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The work's narrative juxtaposes the shattering psychological impact of Finley's father's recent suicide with a study of the female nude.