"POOH UNPLUGGED: A PARODY"
-Karen Finley from American Chestnut
Track 16 Gallery is pleased to present Karen Finley's Pooh Unplugged: A Parody opening Saturday, February 6th and running through March 27th. Opening Reception: February 6th from 6 to 8 PM. Special "Dramatic Reading" and book signing: Saturday, February 13th, 6 - 9 PM. An exhibition catalogue limited to 500 signed and numbered copies is available from the gallery for $35.00.
Like the ideal world she riffs on in her performances, the fifty-four ink drawings that make up Karen Finley's Pooh Unplugged: A Parody use cutting parody to dissect hypocrisy and hyper-commercialism by taking Pooh and Christopher Robyn, Tigger and Eeyore out of their fairy tale and into real life. The Hundred Acre Wood is alive with ennui, secret sexual fantasies, marketing savvy, and greed. Pooh has an eating disorder; Piglet suffers from low self esteem; Owl has delusions of grandeur; Eeyore is just plain depressed; and Christopher Robyn is an enabler in Finley's deftly drawn cartoon world inspired by sleepless nights reading to her four-year-old daughter. As seen through the eyes of one of America's most potent social observers, the lure of big bucks, syndication, and movie deals infects Pooh Corner in all-too-familiar ways and the changes wrought by the "Disney-fication" of these lovely woodland creatures is both hilarious and horrifying.
In Karen Finley's world, there is nowhere to hide from the pain, sadness , absurdity, or terror of our free market, puritanical culture of repression. Turning her own experiences into masterful performances and books, she alternately rails and pokes fun at the forces that trivialize and debase society's outcasts and misfits. Parody is her strongest suit, and Finley fearlessly and unapologetically explodes American taboos and sacred cows. Finley's performance pieces-among them Don't Hang the Angel, We Keep Our Victims Ready, and her current, powerful work The American Chestnut-have earned her rave reviews and the ire of right-wing politicians. The controversy surrounding her performances led the NEA to deny her funds and Congress to insert a "decency clause" as a standard for receiving grants from the agency. Along with three other artists, Finley challenged the clause's constitutionality-and won. But in an appeal by the Endowment before the Supreme Court, the clause was upheld.
Satirizing post-modern domesticity in her recent book Living It Up (Doubleday, 1996), Finely used the "home" as a metaphor for female creativity. In Enough is Enough: Weekly Meditations for Living Dysfunctionally (Poseidon Press, 1993) she parodied self-help tomes by mining her own stress and unfettered impulses. She is a frequent guest on Politically Incorrect where she spars with celebrities and politicians, and her nationally broadcast public performance piece 1-900 All KAREN was a sensation. In addition to Finley's performances, Her contemplative and elegant installations have been exhibited extensively in museums and galleries throughout the United States and Europe.