Monday, September 19, 2011

A new book about Ron Athey, a performance art artist

I'm sharing the entirely note about a new book on Ron Athey's work, and it is because I believe in the necessity of expanding the knowledge of new forms of art, those which show our limits and watch beyond anything in our time.

This will be the first ever publication devoted to the work of Ron Athey, a central figure in the development of performance art since the 1980s. Edited by Dominic Johnson, Pleading in the Blood: The Art of Ron Athey will foreground the prescience of Athey’s work, exploring how his visceral, body-based practice foresaw and precipitated the central place afforded to the body in art and critical theory in the 1990s and after. While histories of art, performance, theatre, and subcultures have consistently acknowledged Athey’s major contribution to the development of contemporary cultures, there has never been a dedicated book about him. Pleading in the Blood aims to fill this conspicuous gap. Developed in close collaboration with Ron Athey, this book seeks to provide a critical overview of Athey’s practice. In his stagings of crisis, sexuality and death in the time of AIDS, Athey calls into question the limits of artistic practice. Athey has been a crucial figure in the development of performance art and body art; club performance; intersections between punk, queer and alternative cultures; sexual politics, specifically in relation to queer practices and the politics of HIV/AIDS; and the representation of religion and ritual.

The book will track Athey’s work from the 1980s underground through to his influential works for festivals, galleries and museums, which have crucially impacted upon the development of body art, Live Art and experimental theatre. The book will include contributions from distinguished national and international artists, writers and scholars: six newly commissioned chapters on different aspects of Athey’s work; shorter ‘testimonials’ by artists; Athey’s own writings; and extensive full-colour images. Contributors include Amelia Jones, C. Carr, Adrian Heathfield, Lydia Lunch, Dominic Johnson and Patrick Califia amongst many others.

The book will be published in 2012.

More information on Ron Athey’s work can be seen here:

The Agency and MIT Press have already raised two thirds of the publication’s budget. However, we believe that Pleading in the Blood merits the highest possible standards and be as richly illustrated and as lavishly produced as possible. Your support will strongly enhance those production values and will be a crucially needed step in meeting our collective vision for the book.

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