April 28, 2013 - New Museum - NEA 4 in Residence
April 28, 2013

NEA 4 in Residence

Left to right: Karen Finley, John Fleck, Holly Hughes, and Tim Miller.

NEA 4 in Residence
May–June 2013

New Museum
235 Bowery 
New York, NY 10002


During the culture wars of the early ’90s, the work of four solo performers, funded in part by the US government, came under attack for the frank treatment of themes of gender, sexuality, subjugation, and personal trauma. In 1990, the work of Karen Finley, John Fleck, Holly Hughes, and Tim Miller (aka the NEA 4) was defunded by the National Endowment for the Arts after Congress amended the statute governing federal funding for the arts to include considerations of “general standards of decency and respect for the diverse beliefs of the American public.” Subsequently, the NEA ceased funding for individual artists altogether. These four residencies reconsider the impact of these events while engaging with each artist on the terms of their current practices.

Karen Finley in Residence: $ite-$pecific at the New Museum
Karen Finley explores strategies for overcoming funding hurdles and alchemizing the divergences between performance art and visual art economies.

May 3—The Money Shot: Roundtable with Karen Finley
Finley investigates artists’ strategies for thinking outside the dollar, working within the institution, and funding one’s practice as an outsider.

May 23–26—Sext Me if You Can by Karen Finley: Performance and Installation
An interactive site-specific performance installation staged in the New Museum Lobby. The erotic exchange with the performing artist—bound by rules of commerce—transforms into a lasting and collectible work of visual art.

Holly Hughes in Residence: Discipline and Legacy in Queer Performance
Holly Hughes quarries queer strategies for teaching queer performance and performing queer histories.

May 5—Queer(ing) Performance Pedagogy: Roundtable with Holly Hughes
What might a radical queer approach to teaching radical queer performance look like today?

May 10—Expanded Forms of Re-enactment in Queer Performance
Hughes is joined by Cynthia Carr (author of Fire in the Belly: The Life and Times of David Wojnarowicz) to consider the past, present, and possible future of expanded forms of re-enactment in queer performance.

John Fleck in Residence: A Snowball’s Chance in Hell Revisited
John Fleck revisits A Snowball’s Chance in Hell (1992) to consider a potential New York City premiere twenty years later.

June 15, 3pm—Blessed Are All the Little Snowballs in Hell: Screening and Discussion
John Fleck’s A Snowball’s Chance in Hell (1992) was a response to the experience of being thrust into the spotlight of controversy as a result of the defunding of his previous work Blessed Are All the Little Fishes (1989) by the NEA. Fascinatingly, neither of these works has ever been performed in New York City.

June 20, 3pm—A Snowball’s Chance in Hell Revisited: Performance Workshop
After a week of intensive on-site investigation and rehearsal, Fleck presents a workshop performance of Snowball, reimagined for 2013.

Tim Miller in Residence: Exhibit Q: Queer Bodies Performance Workshop
Tim Miller leads a performance workshop during Gay Pride Week, culminating in a world premiere ensemble-devised performance on Friday June 28 at 7pm.

June 24–28—Exhibit Q: Queer Bodies Performance Workshop
In Miller’s own words: “This performance workshop brings together a group of queer-identified and queer-allied participants to create an original performance [Exhibit Q: Queer Bodies] that explores the charged border between our ‘queered’ bodies and society…our narratives and our politics…our private selves and public view.”

June 28—Exhibit Q: Queer Bodies Public Performance

Performing Beyond Funding Limits: Research in Practice
In conjunction with the New Museum’s IDEAS CITY Festival (May 1–4)
The NEA 4, in collaboration with four curators who supported their work during the culture wars of the ’90s, were asked to select four under-supported New York–based artists whose practices present unique challenges within the limits of traditional funding models for performance. The selected artists will engage in a weeklong research residency to develop radical “business plans” for better sustaining their own practices and to imagine new strategies beyond the limits of available funding, which they will share in a final presentation on May 4 at 4pm.

This project was conceived as a response to the central theme of IDEAS CITY 2013: Untapped Capital. Utilizing collaborative research and team mentorship strategies, “Performing Beyond Funding Limits” enacts a model for a group of under-supported solo performers to leverage their collective Untapped Capital.

The four participating artists are:
Erin Markey—selected by Holly Hughes and Ellie Covan (Executive Director, Dixon Place)
Salley May—selected by John Fleck and Nicky Paraiso (Programming Director, The Club at La Mama)
Brigham Mosley—selected by Tim Miller and Mark Russell (Artistic Director, Under the Radar Festival)
Tobaron Waxman—selected by Karen Finley and Jed Wheeler (Artistic Director, Peak Performances)

May 3—Performance Beyond the Limits: Short Works
A showcase of short performance works by Markey, May, Mosley, and Waxman.

May 4—Performing Beyond Funding Limits: Final Presentations

NEA 4 in Residence + Performing Beyond Funding Limits is curated by Travis Chamberlain, Associate Curator of Performance and Manager of Public Programs at the New Museum, and produced in conjunction with the exhibition NYC 1993: Experimental Jet Set, Trash and No Star and IDEAS CITY Festival 2013.

IDEAS CITY sponsors

Exhibition sponsors:
Support for the exhibition is provided by the Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation. Additional funding is provided by Martin and Rebecca Eisenberg, the Fundación Almine y Bernard Ruiz-Picasso para el Arte, and the Robert Mapplethorpe Photography Fund.

The accompanying exhibition publication is made possible by the J. McSweeney and G. Mills Publications Fund at the New Museum.

Education and public programs are made possible by a generous grant from Goldman Sachs Gives at the recommendation of David B. Heller & Hermine Riegerl Heller.


NEA 4 in Residence at the New Museum
New Museum
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