Everything Loose

Ron Athey’s Acephalous Monster at REDCAT

  • Rossen Ventzislavov Woodbury University
Keywords: performance, film, performing arts

Abstract

The work of artist Ron Athey has long befuddled the art historical establishment and has mostly remained under the philosophical radar. In this review of Athey’s Acephalous Monster, performed on August 28, 2021, at the Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater in Los Angeles, I propose a philosophical frame- work for Athey’s radical reinvention of ethical categories like agency, mutuality and communion. I describe the performance and its critical context in order to tease out the aesthetic dimension of this reinvention and the subversive power of reconstituting personhood along lines of collective artistic jubilation and creative survival.

References

Doyle, Jennifer. 2013. Hold It Against Me: Difficulty and Emotion in Contemporary Art. Durham: Duke University Press.

Gaut, Berys. 2010. “The Philosophy of Creativity.” Philosophy Compass 5:1034–1046.

Jones, Amelia, and Andy Campbell, eds. 2020. Queer Communion: Ron Athey. Bristol: Intellect.

Muñoz, José Esteban. 1999. Disidentifications: Queers of Color and the Performance of Politics. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Sheets, Hilarie M. 2021. “A Shapeshifting Woman Plays All the Parts.” The New York Times.

Whittacker, Nicholas. 2021. “Blackening Aesthetic Experience.” The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 79:452–464.

Published
2021-12-30