A veteran of the early 80s East Village art scene, vocalist, filmmaker, actress, curator and performance artist Kembra Pfahler has, over the years, expounded upon a singularly disturbing will to provoke. Perhaps best known as the front woman of the punk/metal troupe The Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black (VHOKB), her aggressive, animalistic personas challenge notions of purity and innocence as intrinsic qualities of the female beauty ideal. Among Pfahler’s influences Viennese Actionism favors prominently, as do the aesthetics of the Cinema of Transgression and the self-coined concept of “Availabilism.”

In 2014, she was integral in producing Future Feminism, a series of exhibitions and performances that resulted in the radical feminist manifesto “The Future is Female.” Coming from a decidedly punk, non-academic visual arts perspective, she and her collaborators attempted to translate their feral antics into a different medium: the written word. Pfahler describes Future Feminism as the most complex, confusing and grotesquely misunderstood project of her entire career. It spurred intense criticism from feminist, queer and trans academics world over because it champions ecological concerns over body politics, and was thus misconstrued as an intentional break from—or splintering of—contemporary feminist ideologies.

In the aftershock of this endeavor, Pfahler went on to establish Performance Art 101, a program that teaches young artists how to create their own vocabulary for describing performative works, and produced a knockout exhibition, Capital Improvements, at Emalin Gallery (London). After teaching a course at Bard College this summer, she is curating an exhibition of her ex-husband and band mate Samoa’s paintings at Howel Gallery (NYC), and will be releasing a new VHOKB album entitled Fuck Island in 2018. At Sala Diaz she will be creating live body paintings—Butt Prints, to be precise—which will be passed out to the audience. In all, it seems the perfect pill for your day after/post protest march/existential hangover. 

Special Thanks to Chris Hill

Photo by Xirin Ab-x

Agosto Cuellar: Jive Town runs concurrently with this performance


San Antonio Express-News

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