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.
Biographical / Historical:
Ron Athey (1961- ) is a performance artist in Los Angeles, California. 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.
An interview with Julie Tolentino conducted 2018 April 11 and 12, by Alex Fialho, for the Archives of American Art's Visual Arts and the AIDS Epidemic: An Oral History Project, at a friend's apartment in the East Village, New York.
Tolentino speaks of her childhood in San Francisco; her family dynamics, including caring for her developmentally disabled sister; Harvey Milk's assassination; early exposure to dance and art-making; early exposure to queer nightlife; briefly pursuing dance training in Los Angeles after high school; soon thereafter moving to New York; volunteering for the National Gay and Lesbian Suicide Hotline; her involvement with ACT UP; experiences of AIDS-related grief; her close friendships during this time; continuing her dance education and performance practice in the late '80s and '90s; founding and operating the Clit Club; changes in the landscape of queerness during the '90s; managing the performance companies of David Roussève and Ron Athey; the beginning of her solo practice with Mestiza-Que Ojos Bonitos Tienes; the installation Marks of My Civilization; the beginning of ART+; her role in Madonna's book Sex; her reflections on the visibility of her body; developing the Lesbian AIDS Project's Safer Sex Handbook; her performance works For You, Sky Remains the Same, and Honey; her video work evidence; and her awareness of the past's construction and meaning in the present. Tolentino also recalls Page Hodel, Doug McDowell, Maxine Wolfe, Ann Northrup, David Robinson, Ray Navarro, Aldo Hernandez, Anthony Ledesma, Lola Flash, Catherine Gund, Zoe Leonard, Robert Garcia, Jocelyn Taylor, Martina Yamin, Cookie Mueller, Diamanda Galas, D.M. Machuca, Pigpen, John Lovett, Alessandro Codagnone, John Killacky, Lia Gangitano, Alistair Fate, Steven Meisel, Cythia Madansky, Kim Christensen, Kate Clinton, Lori Seid, Ori Flomin, Abigail Severance, and others.
Biographical / Historical:
Julie Tolentino (1964- ) is a visual and performance artist in New York and Josua Tree, California. 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.
The transcript and audio recording are open for research. Contact Reference Services for more information.
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