Have you ever seen that Naomi Watts film Ellie Parker? In it she plays an Australian actress in Los Angeles, not so different from the real Watts. Much of the film takes place in her car as she shuttles between auditions, intermittently giving herself pep talks, falling apart, and trying to conduct the business of living, despite an obsessive need to make sure she never misses a not-quite-opportunity.
The NEA Four, now in residence at the New Museum, were denied National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) grants in 1990, after Congress passed a “decency clause.” How has arts funding changed in the past 20 years? Its current state would certainly “disabuse just about anyone of the idea that pursuing an artistic career in 21st-century America is a romantic enterprise.”
So there I stood, sharing a cigarette with my friends on the curb outside of La MaMa. We were patiently waiting for the house to open for former NEA 4 defendant John Fleck’s show, “Mad Women,” a dizzying one-man mash-up of the performance artist’s life with the final year of the legendary Judy Garland, when one of the producers approached me and asked, “Do you want to be in the show?”
Has she no decency? At long last, has she no decency? The transgressive, titillating performance artist Karen Finley was denied a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1990 because the language and content in her work was deemed “indecent.” Along with three other artists she became part of the infamous Supreme Court case The National Endowment for the Arts v. Karen Finley, which culminated in the discontinuation of individual artist grants. In her interview with Hyperallergic, Finley reflects on the past of New York City, the state of women in the arts, Lady Gaga and more.