NEA 4 in Residence

May–June 2013

From L–R: Karen Finley, “Sext Me if You Can,” 2012. Performance at Art Basel Miami. Courtesy the artist / John Fleck in Blessed Are All the Little Fishes, 1989. Courtesy the artist / Holly Hughes. Courtesy the artist / Tim Miller in Lay of the Land. Courtesy the artist

A two-part, multi-artist performance residency and research project in conjunction with the exhibition “NYC 1993: Experimental Jet Set, Trash and No Star” and IDEAS CITY 2013.

Karen Finley, John Fleck, Holly Hughes, and Tim Miller—solo performers known collectively as the NEA 4—played a pivotal role in the dramatic shifts in public funding for the arts that occurred during the culture wars of the early ’90s. Their work, funded in part by the US government, came under attack for its frank treatment of themes of gender, sexuality, subjugation, and personal trauma. In 1990, their work was defunded by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) after Congress amended the statute governing federal funding for the arts to include considerations of “general standards of decency and respect for the diverse beliefs of the American public.” Subsequently, the NEA ceased funding for individual artists altogether.

Learn more: NEA 4 in Context

Part 1: NEA 4 in Residence

A series of four individual residencies with Karen Finley, John Fleck, Holly Hughes, and Tim Miller sets the stage for tackling contemporary issues surrounding funding for performance art today in light of the culture wars of the early ’90s.

Karen Finley in Residence: $ite-$pecific at the New Museum

Karen Finley presents a site-specific performance work that alchemizes the fundamental divergences between performance art and visual art economies.

May 3 – The Money Shot: Roundtable with Karen Finley

May 23–26 – “Sext Me if You Can” by Karen Finley: Performance and Installation

Holly Hughes in Residence: Discipline and Legacy in Queer Performance

Holly Hughes quarries queer strategies for teaching queer performance and performing queer histories.

May 5 – Queer(ing) Performance Pedagogy: Roundtable with Holly Hughes

May 10 – Expanded forms of Reenactment in Queer Performance: Holly Hughes and Cindy Carr in Conversation

John Fleck in Residence: A Snowball’s Chance in Hell Revisited

John Fleck revisits A Snowball’s Chance in Hell (1992) to consider a potential New York City premiere twenty years later.

June 15 – Blessed Are All the Little Snowballs in Hell: Screening and Discussion with John Fleck

June 20 – A Snowball’s Chance in Hell, Revisited

Tim Miller in Residence: Exhibit Q: Queer Bodies Performance Workshop

Tim Miller leads a performance workshop during Gay Pride Week, culminating in a world premiere ensemble-devised performance on Friday June 28 at 7 p.m.

June 24–28 – Exhibit Q: Queer Bodies Performance Workshop

June 28 – Exhibit Q: Queer Bodies Public Performance

Part 2: Performing Beyond Funding Limits

NEA 4, in collaboration with four curators who supported their work during the culture wars of the ’90s, will select four New York–based artists whose practices present unique challenges within the limits of traditional funding models for performance. The selected artists will engage in a weeklong research residency to develop radical “business plans” for better sustaining their own practices and to imagine new strategies for adapting their practices beyond the limits of available funding. View full program R

NEA 4 in Residence + Performing Beyond Funding Limits” is curated by Travis Chamberlain, Associate Curator of Performance and Manager of Public Programs at the New Museum.


This program is made possible, in part, through the support of the New York State Council on the Arts and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.

Education and public programs are made possible by a generous grant from Goldman Sachs Gives at the recommendation of David B. Heller & Hermine Riegerl Heller.

Support for the exhibition is provided by the Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation.

Additional funding is provided by Martin and Rebecca Eisenberg, the Fundación Almine y Bernard Ruiz-Picasso para el Arte, and the Robert Mapplethorpe Photography Fund.

The accompanying exhibition publication is made possible by the J. McSweeney and G. Mills Publications Fund at the New Museum.

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