Karen Finley: Shock Treatment, Expanded 25th Anniversary Edition

WhenTuesday, September 6, 7pm




A reading, Q+A, and book signing with author Karen Finley.

Join us for an evening with Karen Finley as she reads from and discusses Shock Treatment: Expanded 25th Anniversary Edition (Published by City Lights). Pre-sales for this event has closed, admission can be paid at the door.

No other artist captures the drama and fragility of the AIDS era as Karen Finley does in her 1990 classic book Shock Treatment. “The Black Sheep,” “We Keep Our Victims Ready,” “I Was Never Expected to Be Talented,”—these are some of the seminal works which excoriated homophobia and misogyny at a time when artists and writers were under attack for challenging the status quo. This twenty-fifth anniversary expanded edition features a new introduction in which Finley reflects on publishing her first book as she became internationally known for being denied an NEA grant because of perceived obscenity in her work. She traces her journey from art school to burlesque gigs to the San Francisco North Beach literary scene. A new poem reminds us of Finley’s disarming ability to respond to the era’s most challenging issues with grace and humor.

“Reading Shock Treatment today reminds me that Karen Finley has always been a writer of conscience. I remember seeing and hearing her read The Black Sheep off a piece of legal paper in the middle of a play at The Kitchen. No frills. She simply re-invented the poem.”—Eileen Myles, author of Snowflake/different streets

About the Author

Karen Finley is an artist, performer, and author. Born in Chicago, she received her MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute. Working in a variety of mediums such as installation, video, performance, public art, visual art, memorials, music, and literature, she has performed and exhibited internationally. Finley is interested in freedom of expression concerns, visual culture, and art education, and she lectures and gives workshops widely. She is the author of eight books, including Reality Shows, published by the Feminist Press in 2011. Her recent work includes: “Artist Anonymous”—a self help open meeting for those addicted to art; “Written in Sand,” a performance of her writings on AIDS with music; “Open Heart,” a Holocaust memorial at Camp Gusen, Austria; “Broken Negative,” where Finley reconsiders her infamous chocolate performance that brought her to the Supreme Court; and “Sext ME if You Can,” where Finley creates commissioned portraits inspired by “sexts” received from the public. A recipient of many awards and grants, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, she is an arts professor in Art and Public Policy at New York University.