Roles in Archive: Artist, Participant, Performer
Finley is a New York–based artist whose performances have long provoked controversy and debate. Her performances have been presented at the Lincoln Center (NY), the Guthrie (Minneapolis), American Repertory Theater (Harvard), the ICA (London), the Steppenwolf (Chicago), and the Bobino (Paris). Her artworks are in numerous collections and museums including the Pompidou in Paris and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. Finley attended the San Francisco Art Institute receiving an MFA and an honorary PhD. She has received numerous awards and fellowships including a Guggenheim Fellowship, two Obies, two Bessies, Ms. magazine Woman Of The Year Award, NARAL Person of the Year Award, and NYSCA and NEA Fellowships. She has appeared in many independent films, including Jonathan Demme’s 1993 Oscar-winning film Philadelphia. She has authored and/or edited eight books including Shock Treatment (City Lights, 1990), Enough is Enough (Poseidon, Simon and Schuster, 1993), Living It Up (Doubleday, 1996), Pooh Unplugged (Smart Art Books, 1999), A Different Kind Of Intimacy: The Collected Writings of Karen Finley (Thunders Mouth Press, 2000), and Reality Shows (2011). Current projects include “Unicorn in Red” (an ongoing series of performances in which Finley receives automatic messages from those departed and turns those messages into artworks), Broken Negative (a re-examination of her infamously defunded work We Keep Our Victims Ready), and Open Heart (a public memorial for children killed during the Holocaust created in collaboration with survivors, children, and locals). Finley is a professor at Tisch School of the Arts at New York University in the department of Art and Public Policy.