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Pleading in the Blood
The Art and Performances of Ron Athey
Now Available
Price £25, $35.50
ISBN 9781783200351
Hardback 248 pages
265 x 195 mm
Published July 2013
Imprint: Intellect
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Edited by Dominic Johnson
Reviews     |      Comments

Ron Athey is an iconic figure in contemporary art and performance. In his frequently bloody portrayals of life, death, crisis and fortitude in the time of AIDS, Athey calls into question the limits of artistic practice. These limits enable Athey to explore key themes including gender, sexuality, radical sex, queer activism, post-punk and industrial culture, tattooing and body modification, ritual and religion. This landmark publication includes Athey’s own writings, commissioned essays by maverick artists and leading academics and full-colour images of Athey’s art and performances since the early 1980s. The diverse range of artistic and critical contributors to the book reflects Athey’s creative and cultural impact, among them musician Antony Hegarty of Antony and the Johnsons who contributed a foreword.

 

To read the full review in Contemporary Theatre Review click here to download the pdf.

 

Reviews
'The seventeen extensive essays from underworld luminaries of art and music attempt to nail Athey’s ethos and individual practice ... This book being undeniably a celebration of Athey’s life.' – Trebuchet, Drum Major Russell MacEwan

'The performance artist is given space to tell his own childhood which is fitting as both now literary image and visual image are under Athey’s control. The whole book appears a lesson in discipline. It seeks to dispel myth' – Lambda Literary, Richard Maguire

'A beautifully illustrated catalogue raisonné in which Athey’s extensive oeuvre is analyzed, placing him alongside Jean Genet, Antonin Artaud and Yukio Mishima, as well as contemporary art-world figures Chris Burden and Bob Flanagan' – John Killacky, American Theatre

'This collection is, remarkably, the first such set of essays devoted to Athey’s work, studded with, even more remarkably, photographs from across a career characterized by a resistance of the production of images and traces generally associated with the business of performance art.' – Rain Taxi, Spencer Dew

'Without a doubt, the standard for any future writings on Athey will be the challenging, poly-vocal, and powerful testament offered by 'Pleading in the Blood'.' – Contemporary Theatre Review, David J. Getsy

'What I admire most about 'Pleading in the Blood', and Athey’s work in general, is its deep embrace of the paradoxical, the “impulse to experience the miraculous” through the enactment of “visual atrocity” deriving from the alchemical—the artist’s ability to turn the epic failure of a family prophesy into its own form of revelation.' – Jane Ursula Harris, Cultural Politics

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