Karen Finley Movies and Career Information

Karen Finley profile image

Nov 30, -0001
Evanston
Actor

Karen Finley (b. 1956, Evanston, Illinois) is an American performance artist, whose theatrical pieces and recordings have often been labelled "obscene" due to their graphic depictions of sexuality, abuse, and disenfranchisement. She was notably one of the NEA Four, four performance artists whose grants from the National Endowment for the Arts were vetoed in 1990 by John Frohnmayer after the process was condemned by Senator Jesse Helms under "decency" issues. Having received an MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute, Finley procured her first NEA grant and moved to New York City. She quickly became part of the city's art scene, collaborating with artists such as the Kipper Kids (Brian Routh — whom she married/divorced — and Martin von Haselberg) and David Wojnarowicz. Finley's early recordings featured her ranting crass monologues over disco beats (and she would often perform her songs late night at the famed club Danceteria, where she worked). These recordings include the singles "Tales of Taboo" from 1986 and "Lick It" from 1988 (both produced by Madonna collaborator Mark Kamins) plus the 1988 album, The Truth Is Hard To Swallow (re-released on CD, with a slightly different

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