Karen Finley Analysis

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Karen Finley, in the European Premiere of her piece, Written in Sand relives pieces of art created out of pain and anguish during the AIDs epidemic. Finley performs this piece as a part of the SPILL Festival 2015. The theme of this year’s festival is ‘On Spirit’ and Written in Sand personifies the spirit of those who lost their lives or their loved ones to AIDs. Finley’s own spirit, as a ground breaking feminist performance artist, is front and center as she bares her soul while mourning the friends she lost to AIDs.
The start of Karen Finley’s life began in the year of 1956 in Evanston, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. She grew up in an eccentric household where the “people in my family all married different people with different nationalities.” She began performing while in high school and even at a young age challenged those around her with provocative art. Finley describes her young self as someone
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Instead, it exposes her soul and spirit. Alternatively, this performance allows her to mourn and bare the pain of loss. This performance marks a new era in Finley’s career. She is exploring femininity through her emotions as a woman. Finley finds it in herself to challenge another social constraint: the grieving over taboo members of society. Hence, she offers finally offers tributes to those who deserve them. Finley describes the AIDs epidemic effects on grieving, as “they wouldn’t announce the life, so why announce the death?” Finley rattles the shackles placed on her by social constraints. However, this time, in honor of her fallen friends, advocates for their lives and the art that was created as result of the anguish felt during the epidemic. Finley, currently a professor at New York University, as graduated to being a proponent of the disenfranchised and continues to advocate for feminism by acknowledging that exhibiting hysterical emotion does not make a woman weak. Welcome to the new
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