Oral history interview with Ron Athey, 2016 June 17-18
Athey, Ron, 1961-
Fialho, Alex, 1989-
Visual Arts and the AIDS Epidemic: An Oral History Project
Place of publication, production, or execution:
2 sound files (4 hrs., 40 min.) digital, wav
Transcript: 68 pages.
An interview with Ron Athey, conducted 2016 June 17-18, by Alex Fialho, for the Archives of American Art's Visual Arts and the AIDS Epidemic: An Oral History Project, at Athey's home in Los Angeles, California.
Athey speaks of his childhood in Pomona, California; early religious experiences; early sexual experiences; formative exposure to punk music and culture in late adolescence; developing his own punk acts; contracting HIV and seroconverting; intersections between HIV/AIDS and drug-using cultures; his body of nightclub-based performative work beginning in the 1990s; his reflections on international presentations of his work; technical aspects and design elements of his performance art and film work; changes in his lifestyle and self-care regimen after seroconverting; the role of the audience in performance art; his relationship to AIDS activism; motifs of apocalypse, nihilism, and humor in his work; his place in art history; his current work as a teacher and mentor; and his contributions to American art. Athey also recalls Johanna Went, Karen Finley, Diamanda Galas, Reza Abdoh, Cynthia Carr, Leigh Bowery, Divinity Fudge, Harold Meyerson, Lia Gangitano, Brian Murphy, Amelia Jones, and others.
Quotes and excerpts must be cited as follows: Oral history interview with Ron Athey, 2016 June 17-18. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Transcript is available on the Archives of American Art's website.
Funded by the Keith Haring Foundation.
Interviewee Ron Athey (1961- ) is a performance artist in Los Angeles, California. Interviewer Alex Fialho (1989- ) is a curator and arts writer who is the Programs Director for Visual AIDS in New York, New York.
This interview is part of the Archives of American Art Oral History Program, started in 1958 to document the history of the visual arts in the United States, primarily through interviews with artists, historians, dealers, critics and administrators.
Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, 750 9th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20001