Tag Archives: Ron Athey


Athey’s work resists formal introduction: he is an artist’s artist, a visionary, a dreamer, a transformer. Ron has blazed a path from the margins into clubs, galleries, and museums around the world; from the Pentecostal churches of his youth to the legendary goth punk and queer venues of the underground; from downtown SRO hotels to Hollywood. He’s even made it into the filthy mouths of evangelical lawmakers looking for ways to defund the NEA. — Zackary Drucker

QUEER COMMUNION—RON ATHEY, the first retrospective exhibition of the artist’s work, is on view in lower Manhattan. Curated by Amelia Jones, the show explores the “generous extension of self into the world through a mode of open embodiment that enacts creativity in the social sphere through collective engagement as art.”*


Through April 4.

Participant Inc

253 East Houston Street, New York City.

See Queer Communion: Ron Athey, ed. Amelia Jones and Andy Campbell (Bristol, UK: Intellect Books, 2020).

Queer Communion: Ron Athey, Participant Inc., New York, February 14, 2021–April 4, 2021, from top: Installation photographs by Daniel Kukla (4); Ron Athey, Acephalous Monster, 2019, MoCA Skopje, photograph by Andreja Kargačin; Queer Communion: Ron Athey, installation photographs by Kukla (3). Images © Ron Athey, courtesy of the artist and Participant Inc.


Experience and participate in FULL PINK MOON—OPERA POVERA IN QUARANTINE—a livestream durational opera with a score comprised of Pauline Oliveros’ composition The Lunar Opera: Deep Listening for _Tunes, with an original libretto and story by IONE.

The event is a fundraiser for the Equal Sound Corona Relief Fund, which is raising money to help musicians financially affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Over 250 artists are expected to join together for this event—a call to arms to the community to harness livestream technology in this time of crisis. To participate, sign in here.

There will also be a livestream pre-event discussion with artists and musicians, including Ron AtheyGeorge Lewis, and Sean Griffin.

Full Pink Moon is co-sponsored by the University of Chicago’s Gray Center for Arts & Inquiry and California Institute of the Arts.


Tuesday, April 7.

Pre-opera discussion

5 pm on the West Coast; 8 pm East Coast.

Opera performance

6 pm to midnight on the West Coast; 9 pm to 1 am East Coast.

From top: Sean Griffin, Dramaturgical Sketch 1 for Full Pink Moon, courtesy and © the artist and Opera Povera; Pauline Oliveros; poster courtesy and © Opera Povera; Griffin, Dramaturgical Sketch 2 for Full Pink Moon, courtesy and © the artist and Opera Povera.


A couple of years ago I came to a realization: If I’m interested in those artists’ ideas that have fallen outside of the institutional, my only option is to try to carry them forward in some way. It’s about letting art escape from the mechanisms of art history and consensus. There are going to be parts that are invisible to most people. There’s something exciting about that invisibility to me—we live in such an entirely overexposed time. You talk about market forces; I’ve seen an emerging alignment between critical discussion, market activity, and museological practice in the past couple of decades. It comes as no surprise to me that anything that functions in any one of those forums functions in all three of them. At this point, the mechanism is so streamlined that it’s hard to imagine what you could do that would escape that dynamic.Nayland Blake*

Join Marvin Astorga, Nao Bustamante, Ron Athey, Robert Crouch, Jennifer Doyle, Jamillah James, Young Joon Kwak, Marcus Kuiland-Nazario, and Bradford Nordeen at Zebulon for an evening of performance, music, and dance at Nayland Blake’s FIRST INTERNATIONAL INTERGENERATIONAL GENDER DISCARD PARTY.

The event marks the closing day of Blake’s ICA LA exhibition NO WRONG HOLES—THIRTY YEARS OF NAYLAND BLAKE.


Sunday, January 26, from 8 pm to midnight.


2478 Fletcher Drive, Los Angeles.

*“Rachel Harrison and Nayland Blake” interview, Bomb 105, Fall 2008.

From top: Nayland Blake; Nayland Blake, Untitled, 2000, charcoal on paper; Nayland Blake, Untitled, 2007, graphite and colored pencil on paper; Nao Bustamante as Conchita, photograph by Austin Young; Nayland Blake, Kit No. 7 (Flush), 1990, rubber gloves, stainless steel cups, belt, hose, shelf, books; Nayland Blake, Equipment for a Shameful Epic, 1993, mixed media; Nayland Blake, Crossing Object (Inside Gnomen), 2017, mixed media. Images courtesy and © the artists, the photographers, ICA LA, and Matthew Marks Gallery.


An exhibition at Human Resources curated by artist and filmmaker Telémachos Alexiou will raise funds for his newest film projects: the feature THE VOICE OF AN ANGEL, and the documentary EMI’S MOVIE, about the life and work of gallerist, curator, yogini, and writer Emi Fontana.

THE VOICE OF AN ANGEL proposes as its core-dogma the idea that a delusion is an essential life force and therefore reminds us that art is a lie that tells the truth. It tells the story of a young self-exiled Greek actor in Berlin, and his awakening of conscience while back in Athens…

“The spell began during my secret explorations of my mother’s bedroom as a little child… I started making up myths and stories about my mother in order to create the illusion I could exert even the slightest of influence on her life before me—as if by doing so I could gain full control over my own fate.” — Telémachos Alexiou

The work in this show “manifests Alexiou’s personal relationships with the artists, shedding light upon the intimate moments, struggles, pleasures and agonies of being queer in 2019. The exhibition’s curation is a love letter to the artists, intended to bridge the geographical distance and emotional longing between continents.”* Exhibiting artists include Ron AtheyLucas Bihler, CassilsAlex ChavesZackary DruckerSpilios GianakopoulosMonilola IlupejuYoung Joon KwakEva MitalaTyler Matthew OyerZander PorterElliot ReedSpyros Rennt, Jason Al-Taan and Alexiou. 

This event is co-hosted by Zak Stone, with performances by Christopher Argodale and Tyler Matthew Oyer, and an afterparty with surprise DJ sets.


Wednesday, May 29; doors open at 7 pm.

Performances by Christopher Argodale at 7:30 pm and Tyler Matthew Oyer at 10:15 pm.

Human Resources

410 Cottage Home Street, downtown Los Angeles.

From top: Eva Mitala, untitled (1), silkscreen; Jason Al-Taan, The Ivy Terrace, 2017, photograph; Monilola Ilupeju, Intimacy Study (1 and 2), 2016, photography and print on plastic foil; Elliot Reed, Lesson, 2018, video still; Tyler Matthew Oyer, untitled (Sigil), 2016, acrylic on paper; Spyros Rennt, Catalin by the window, 2017, photograph; Spyros Rennt, Freckles (joy), 2017, photograph; Lucas Bihler, untitled (1), 2019, photograph; Telémachos Alexiou, Self #2, 2017, photograph and print text; Telémachos Alexiou, Self #3, 2017, photograph and print text, both from the Fassbinder Series. Images courtesy and © the artists.


“Growing up, I always assumed every store had an over-18 section. It was only when I got older that I realized my parents were in the business of hardcore gay porn. This was a completely strange thing for me, because this was not the world I knew to be of my parents: straight-laced, boring, and in my mom’s case, religious. The world of sexual deviants, gender nonconforming transgressives and weirdos, that was my world, not theirs…

“And yet, it took me leaving Los Angeles for over a decade to fully comprehend what a massive role their two Circus of Books stores served for the community. It took making a documentary film to realize that they had nurtured a second family to the family they had at home. They had carved out their own special place as trusted shop owners who never judged anyone who showed up in their surreptitious aisles, even as the rest of the world cast down condemnation, to say nothing of other parents at our school. As the store was closing last week, a Vietnam veteran walked through the doors and stood, unmoving in front of the register. My mom had protested against Vietnam, and she proceeded to tell him how terrible the Vietnam War was, and he looked at her and said, ‘Thank you. This store is part of my history, and some of the best years of my life happened here.’ ” — Rachel Mason, producer and director, Circus of Books*

The original Circus of Books—called “Book Circus”—opened in West Hollywood in 1967, followed by the Silver Lake location at Sunset Junction. An exhibition celebrating the communal culture and backrooms of Karen and Barry Mason‘s adults-only emporiums—fifty years of getting off—is now on view in Manhattan.

The show—curated by David Fierman with Rachel Mason—features artwork by Wilder Alison, Ron Athey, Adam Baran, Bengala, Erik Bergrin, Michael Bilsborough, Raynes Birkbeck, Seth Bogart, Chris Bogia, Kathe Burkhart, Deric Carner, Chivas Clem, Scott Covert, Vaginal Davis, Anne Doran, Thomas Dozol, Zackary Drucker, Ruben Esparza, Tom of Finland, Karen Finley, Benjamin Fredrickson, ektor garcia, Mariah Garnett, Mark Golamco, Jeff Grant, Michelle Handelman, Charles Hovland, Scott Hug, David Hurles, Stephen Irwin, William E. Jones, Wayne Koestenbaum, Mike Kuchar, Bruce LaBruce, Dawn Mellor, Lucas Michael, Billy Miller, Bob Mizer, David Mramor, Narcissister, Dominic Nurre, Mel Ottenberg, Jack Pierson, Breyer P-Orridge, Pre-Echo Press, Fay Ray, Mariah Robertson, Dean Sameshima, Stuart Sandford, Paul Mpagi Sepuya, Margie Schnibbe, Michael Stipe, Chris E. Vargas, Mark Verabioff, Jan Wandrag, Karlheinz Weinberger, Jimmy Wright, and Dorian Wood.


Through May 6.


127 Henry Street, New York City.

From top: Vaginal Davis, Ascyltos of the Satyricon, 2016, ink on paper; Dominic Nurre, Vale of Cashmere Head, 2017–19, coconut shell, coconut oil, salt lick, and acrylic; David Mramor, Pink Star, 2019, oil, acrylic, and inkjet on canvas; Wayne Koestenbaum, David at Leisure, 2019, oil and graphite on canvas paper; Lucas Michael, G5CR, 2017, neon; Dawn Mellor, Southend Beach, 2013, oil, Tipp-ex, and marker pen on linen; Jimmy Wright, Griffith Park, LA, 1973, graphite and charcoal on graph paper; Seth Bogart, Faggots, 2019, ceramic; Mike Kuchar, Liquid Dreams, circa 1980s–1990s, pencil, pens, felt pens, and ink on paper; Scott Hug, Untitled (STH_PW_003), 2018, collage; Jeff Grant, Snow and Holes, 2018, archival inkjet print, staples, and clearlay; Karen Finley, dickless, 2018, ink on paper. Images courtesy the artists and Fierman gallery. Special thanks to David Fierman and Rachel Mason.