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Contents for August 09, 2021

1. Eliza Ladd, FF Alumn, live online at The Franklin Furnace LOFT, Aug. 10

DATE: August 10th, 2021 - 7pm to 8:15pm EST
REGISTER: https://franklinfurnaceloft.org/gravity-and-levity/

Gravity and Levity by Eliza Ladd

It took 400 million years to go from quadruped to biped, and now this?

How to move, how to eat, how to fly — join a very particular creature on a shape shifting journey to die for.

Is it possible to find embodiment and community through the computer and technology? Can we still create relationships, communicate, and express ourselves through movement? Can we make meaningful theater on Zoom? Can we still find expansiveness and connect with the audience?

In a short, spoken-word and performance video— all in a little black box - Ladd shape shifts into a puppet character named fingers and eyes. She dances, sings, and speaks poetic text. It sounds funny, and at times it is, but the piece can also be heartbreaking. It ranges from slapstick to mime to dance to a cry from the depths of the artist’s heart.

Ladd says, “My work as an artist is all about the body. The pandemic removed my ability to play, perform, and practice with others in a shared space. What will become of live theater? Is it doomed to disembodiment? This question was already in the air before the pandemic with the prominence of the computer and technology. Its amazing how rhythm, time and space can survive the shift in scale and medium. It turns out that the answer to all my questions is ‘yes’ — on a very deep level. Art survives, In and through. We adapt”
View the performance and participate in a live talkback with ‘fingers and eyes’ - the central figure of Gravity and Levity.

Eliza Ladd is a performer, director, stage writer, composer, and choreographer from NYC. She is currently Associate Professor of Movement and Dance at the FSU / Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training MFA. Eliza holds a BA in Comparative Religion from Harvard University and an MFA in Theater: Contemporary Performance from Naropa University. Eliza has created original multi-disciplinary work in NYC at PS 122, Dixon Place, Movement Research, the Knitting Factory, Joyce Soho and at The Berkshire Fringe. She has performed at La
Mama, the Kitchen, NY Theater Workshop, St. Ann’s Warehouse and with Shakespeare and Company in MA. She is the recipient of a Franklin Furnace FUND award.

In Sarasota, Eliza has created and directed Tigers Above and Tigers Below and Selfie of the Ancients for the New Music New College performance series. She has collaborated with Sarasota Contemporary Dance to create the Dali Picasso Project at the Dali Museum in St Petersburg, and performed her solo show O Let Me Just Be the Greek Whore that I Am at the first ever Sarasolo Festival. Eliza developed a new solo piece, Autobiography of the Human Species, for a work in progress showing in the ‘In Studio Series’ at Sarasota Contemporary Dance in 2019. In February 2021 Eliza wrote and performed Gravity and Levity a new work created for Zoom and live streamed by Sarasota Contemporary Dance - In Studio Nights Series.



2. Dread Scott, FF Alumn, in Portland, OR

Expression Against Oppression / Portland, OR

Selected artists: Dread Scott, Paola De La Cruz, Liam Woods, Kari Rowe, Tomás Karmelo Amaya, Christine Miller, Loren Toney, and HezronH.

Curated by Salomée Souag, Bernadette Little, and Xiuhtezcatl.

Dread Scott’s White People Can’t Be Trusted With Power billboard is now on view in Portland, OR. Dread Scott is a visual artist whose works are exhibited across the US and internationally. In 1989, his art became the center of national controversy over its transgressive use of the American flag, while he was a student at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Dread became part of a landmark Supreme Court case when he and others defied a federal law outlawing his art by burning flags on the steps of the U.S. Capitol. He has presented at TED talk on this.

His work has been included in exhibitions at MoMA PS1, the Walker Art Center, Jack Shainman Gallery, and Gallery MOMO in Cape Town, South Africa, and is in the collection of the Whitney Museum and the Brooklyn Museum. He is a 2021 John Simon Guggenheim Fellow and has also received fellowships from Open Society Foundations and United States Artists as well as a Creative Capital grant.

In 2019 he presented Slave Rebellion Reenactment, a community engaged project that reenacted the largest rebellion of enslaved people in US history. The project was featured in Vanity Fair, The New York Times, Christiane Amanpour on CNN and highlighted by artnet.com as one of the most important artworks of the decade.

Connect wit Dread on Instagram at @DreadScottArt.



3. Marian Goodman, FF Alumn, now online in The New York Times

Please visit this link:


Thank you.



4. Le Petit Versailles, FF Alumns, in person and on Facebook, Aug. 22

247 E 2nd St, New York, NY 10009

on Manhattan’s Lower East Side

Sunday 8/22 8PM
Spectacle Theater, Japan Society and
Allied Productions, Inc. present a one-night only outdoor screening of
Kaizo Hayashi's 1986 film noir homage
in conjunction with the 2021 edition of the Japan Cuts Film Festival.

RAIN OR SHINE. Non-vaccinated guests will be asked to wear masks.

Doors open at 7PM

And on Facebook, event link here:



5. Michelle Stuart, FF Alumn, at Marc Selwyn Fine Art, Beverly Hills, thru Sept. 18

Michelle Stuart: An Archaeology of Place
July 24 – September 18, 2021

Marc Selwyn Fine Art
9953 S Santa Monica Blvd
Beverly Hills, CA 90212
(310) 277-9953
Since the 1970s, Michelle Stuart has been internationally recognized for a rich and diverse practice, including site-specific earth works, intimate drawings, paintings, sculpture and photographs, all centered on a lifelong interest in the natural world and the cosmos. A pioneer in the use of nontraditional media, Stuart brings forth imagery by using organic and site-specific materials in unique ways that expand the notion of what art and painting can be.
In this exhibition of paintings from 1985 to 1990, the artist merges science, botany and the collection of organic specimens with a practice that is painterly yet remains deeply connected to the sites from which they are derived. Specimens collected from treks in locations such as Alaska, Hawaii, New Mexico, and Arizona are embedded in encaustic and pigment and arranged in modular grid-like patterns that recall the minimalist compositions of artists such as Agnes Martin and Sol LeWitt. As Stuart has noted, “I find great satisfaction in the rigorous structure of the grid, but I like the organic on the grid so that there’s a combination of structure and chaos”. Often, these all over compositions evoke images of galaxies or the night sky, another fascination of the artist. Stuart’s encaustic grid paintings reference the physical and the metaphysical, collapsing time, place, and memory while remaining anchored in their own materiality.
A selection of drawings from 1969 to 1974 informs the paintings by providing a foundation for the development of her process.

Stuart’s work has recently been acquired by an extraordinary number of public institutions including: The Hirshhorn Museum, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Centre Pompidou, SFMOMA, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY, the Chicago Art Institute, the Hammer Museum, The Dia Art Foundation, the Tate, Glenstone, and The Rachofsky Collection, among others.
Stuart’s practice will be the subject of the upcoming feature-length documentary, Michelle Stuart: Voyager, which reflects the grand themes found in her work – an intense celebration of nature, a revelation of perception, a path to a deeper memory and a profound understanding of ourselves within the cosmos.



6. Alicia Grullón, FF Alumn, at Moore College of Art and Design, Philadelphia, PA, thru September 25

"Alicia Grullón: From March to June: At Home with Essential Workers"
July 30th thru September 25th
Moore College of Art and Design
1916 Race Street

Grullón’s self-portrait series, “From March to June: At Home with Essential Workers” is a continuation of her process using visual and embodied performative practices to create alternatives in archiving history. Reminiscent of the work of Anna Deavere Smith and Martha Wilson, Grullón performative traditions with her own practices in photography and video in her ongoing interdisciplinary practice towards critiques of the politics of presence, arguing for the inclusion of disenfranchised communities in political and social spheres. As she notes in her short piece for Verso Book’s Blog Hot City, “In my work I want to encourage viewers to reflect upon my performances as particular processes where I express the undoing of colonial history through my body and actions. In a broader sense, I use photography to unravel the complexities of my signification in a straightforward manner relying only on the camera and performance as apparatus.”

Alicia Grullón is the 2020 recipient of the Jane and David Walentas Endowed Fellowship. The prestigious biannual fellowship underscores Moore College’s ongoing commitment to social engagement by offering opportunities to thoughtful artists who bring their vision for the future of cultural production to the Moore community and the larger artistic community of Philadelphia. The fellowship, launched in 2018, was endowed by Jane Zimmerman Walentas, who graduated from Moore in 1966, and her husband, David.

Alicia Grullon



7. Dynasty Handbag, FF Alumn, August events


I cannot expwesh how thrilled I yam for this!! There hasn't been a Weirdo Night in 111228477 months, because of the virus (HPV) and this couldn't be a better scenario for an ease back into the dangerm zone! This will be OUTSIDE, in the plaza at MOCA GEFFEN. And it will be insane in the mucous membrane.

Dream line-erp - Amelia Bande, Marawa Ibrahim, Phranc, Jaquita Ta’le, and Francesca D’Uva.
>>> And, delicious plant-based takes on classic comfort foods will be available for purchase courtesy of Compton Vegan. Annnnd there will be a mochi cart. slurp.

FREE; RSVP here tickets will be released at Wednesday, Aug 4th at 9:30 AM
VERY limited ticket availability - so take some speed!
IF YOU DON'T GET A TICKET COME ANYWAY --- there will be room! It's "at capacity" but many folks will not show up and there is space to watch the show from the sidelines, outside of the weakly cordoned off event area.

Saturday, August 14, 2021
6:30pm PST
The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA
poster art by Mariavittoria Campodonico

O OM SO so excOted
ThOk yoJ MOCA!!!!!

Weirdo Night (the movie!) is screening FOR FREE, all week!

In honor of Weirdo Night's live return and our sweeping rejections from all but the most important film festival in the land, we’re streaming it online for free all week!
Eeeeeeeeat Shittttttttttt filmcircuit orgres!!

Shot during COVID, Weirdo Night (The Movie) is a stand in for the eponymous, wildly popular underground club night in Los Angeles. Through Dynasty Handbag’s singular cathartic performances and a diverse catalog of artists, Weirdo Night takes the anxiety and alienation of the current moment and transforms it into a collective, hilarious and even joyful experience. Featuring Vagabon, SASAMI, Patti Harrison, Smiling Beth, Morgan Bassichis, Sarah Squirm, Hedia Maron, Bibi Discoteca
We got to watch Weirdo Night the movie with X-Tra's Christina Catherine Martinez, who interviewed us as we went along.

Everything Is A Lie
by Mariah Garnett, Jibz Cameron, Christina Catherine Martinez

Jibz Cameron’s “Weirdo Night” has always had a look. It’s hard to pin down. Something neon but dirty. The perfume of sweaty nervousness meeting the generosity of the audience. And hairspray. I’ve been blessed to perform at Jibz’s live show in Los Angeles several times, both at Zebulon and back when it was at El Cid. It is, hands down, one of the better, cooler, funner, more purple stages of the tri-county area. Whether you’re a conventional stand-up performer, avant clown, queer poet, unskilled musician, punk icon, or simply a vessel of unclassifiable charisma, it’s hard to find a crowd more ready to see some shit than those who come out to celebrate Cameron’s alter ego Dynasty Handbag and extend their belovedness to her eclectic guests. READ FULL ARTICLE
My first solo drawing exhibition is still up for viewing
Jibz Cameron: Drawings
Maccarone Gallery
online show curated by William J. Simmons

Maccarone is pleased to present Jibz Cameron: Drawings, the first exhibition of works on paper by Los Angeles-based artist Jibz Cameron, a.k.a. Dynasty Handbag. The exhibition, curated by William J. Simmons, is the artist’s debut with the gallery and features a selection of drawings created between 2011–2021 as well as two single-edition NFTs and a limited-edition giclée print.
and again thank you supporting the avant guardians of the galaxitive

Copyright © 2021 Dynasty Handbag, All rights reserved.



8. Alva Rogers, FF Alumn, now online at Vimeo

Hello from Alva and the Cast and Crew of The Life Before/ Reconstruction/ Reconstructing Whiteness:

We received messages from many of you expressing a desire to see them play after its run at the festival,
and so we have posted it on Vimeo, where it will remain for a few weeks,
so see the link and password below to access the recording at your leisure.

Thank you.

Vimeo link:


password: nomoon

Running Time: Approx. 25 min.



9. Andrea Fraser, Alison Knowles, Adam Putnam, FF Alumns, at Broadway, Manhattan, thru Aug. 27

Soft Network
Interior Scroll
What I Did on My Vacation

A Multi-Venue Program Organized by Soft Network

373 Broadway, New York, NY 10013
August 5 - August 27, 2021

Opening: Thursday August 5, 11AM-8PM

Hours: Mon-Fri 12PM - 6PM

Alvin Baltrop
Sarah Charlesworth
Sari Dienes
Andrea Fraser & Jeff Preiss
Robin Graubard
Kite & Alisha B. Wormsley
Alison Knowles
Stan Lathan
Juanita McNeely
Ryan Muller & B. Wurtz
Adam Putnam
Carolee Schneemann
Anita Steckel
Alisha B. Wormsley

Taking its title from both the extraordinary Carolee Schneemann performance that was first staged at Ashawagh Hall in East Hampton on August 29, 1975 as part of Joyce Kozloff and Joan Semmel’s radical feminist exhibition entitled Women Artists Here and Now and a series of happenings organized by Allan Kaprow in 1967 throughout the Hamptons for CBS’s historic news program Eye on New York, Soft Network’s summer project gathers artwork, ephemera and moving-image from a group of intergenerational artists in a sprawling, visual poem on mediation and re-mediation.

Exhibitions and screenings span Broadway, Tribeca; Halsey McKay, East Hampton; S&S Corner Shop, Springs; Metrograph Cinema online; and the Arts Center at Duck Creek, Springs. Artworks specifically chosen for Broadway represent an expansive view of performance for the camera and look at the complicated, yet integral role archival actions take in preserving the artistic interchange of fleeting, corporeal based work as well as artist networks.

A 1955 rubbing by Sari Dienes of Gloria Swanson’s Hollywood Star; pencil drawings of a curvaceous Rrose Sélavy from the turn of the 21st century by the late Anita Steckel; boldly colored, figurative paintings by Juanita McNeely of her friends from the 1980s; and a new 18-inch (foot)print by Alison Knowles enlarging the sole of her shoe imprinted into rough, responsive paper all show an extended interest among a group of feminist peers in the mediation of performance as a conceptual and visual gesture.

A new installation of photographs and slideshow from Robin Graubard made last year while quarantined in Paris; a recently located image from Adam Putnam’s archive of one of his first performances; a man grinning at the Piers photographed by Alvin Baltrop; profound photographic still lives from the 2000s by Sarah Charlesworth; and documentation of the late Carolee Schneemann revisiting Interior Scroll in 1993 represent the capture of performance, desire and self reflection as engines for art production as well. Collaborative works by Alisha B. Wormsley and Kite; Andrea Fraser and Jeff Preiss; and Ryan Muller and B. Wurtz further the emphasis in this project on artist partnerships and networks as essential to cultural production and a means of survival for most.

The film and video program titles including Statues Hardly Ever Smile (Stan Lathan/St. Clair Bourne, 1971); Orchard Document: May I Help You?(Andrea Fraser, Jeff Preiss, 2005-2006); and Reclaimed Empire (Adam Putnam, 2008-2017) take existing artworks and their sites of display as subjects to be activated via performance.

Organized as a searching scroll of performance and correspondence, this project considers the fractured boundary between private and public as an endless conveyance of self, sometimes to no one and sometimes to many. Artists depicting other artists or their own personages, correspondence reflective of one’s community and performance residuals convey the crucial role of communication and the record left after.

A six-part film and video program co-programmed by Soft Network and Jason Evans for Metrograph online runs through August 23rd and concludes with a live screening at the Arts Center of Duck Creek in Springs on August 22nd. Programmed by Rosalind Schneider and Martha Edelheit of Women/Artist/Filmmakers,Inc. a female experimental film collective founded in the 1970s, the final series includes several titles from the 1975 art and performance week Women Artists Here and Now.

Overall, the program for Metrograph, titled Artists on Camera 1967-2021, looks at the long tradition of artists depicting other artists as an intimate perspective on a typically guarded world. Unique encounters with friends, peers, and their wider community bring an admiration shared by those on both sides of the camera. From quiet portraits filmed in studio environments that explore the nuances of an artist’s everyday life, to layered films that trace the influence of one artist’s work on another, the program of shorts, mid-length and feature films reveals how both the portrayers and the portrayed intersect.

About Soft Network
Soft Network is a cooperative platform established by Chelsea Spengemann and Sara VanDerBeek for connective arts programming. We work between past and present to explore ways in which the archive and archival interactions can become integral modes of exchange, collaboration, creativity and commerce. Soft Network’s mission is to provide opportunities for living artists and the representatives of non-living artists to support each other through sharing resources, labor and profits by generating new projects in collaboration with existing platforms. Projects will be available to view during regular business hours of the exhibition space or by appointment. All artworks are available for immediate purchase at the exhibition space and in certain instances online via our partners.



10. Linda Mary Montano & Nicolás Dumit Estévez Raful Espejo Ovalles, FF Alumns, now online at Interior Beauty Salon

Linda Mary Montano and Nicolás Dumit Estévez Raful Espejo Ovalles launching a series of Q&As: 2009-2021/ To access this online archive go to: https://www.interiorbeautysalon.com/linda-nicolas

Linda Mary Montano is a seminal figure in contemporary performance art and her work since the mid 1960s has been critical in the development of video by, for, and about women. Attempting to dissolve the boundaries between art and life, Montano continues to actively explore her art/life through shared experience, role adoption, and intricate life altering ceremonies, some of which last for seven or more years.

Nicolás Dumit Estévez Raful Espejo Ovalles treads an elusive path that manifests itself performatively or through experiences where the quotidian and art overlap. Concurrently, this path has been informed by a strong personal interest in immigration, cultural hybridization and Nicolás’s understanding of identity as a process always in flux. During the past 15 years he has received mentorship in art in everyday life from Linda Mary Montano, a historic figure in the performance art field. Montano and Nicolás have also collaborated on several performances.



11. Irina Danilova, FF Alumn, at Ground Solyanka Gallery, Moscow, Russia, Aug. 18

I am absolutely thrilled to take part with my sound compositions in the Sound Art Festival in Moscow.
August 18th, 7:30 pm
Ground Solyanka Gallery
Everyone welcome!



12. Jay Critchley, FF Alumn, in Discard Studies


Miss Tampon Liberty

Jay Critchley and the Environmenstrual1 Movement
by Camilla Mørk Røstvik
In the 1980s, when menstruation was generally considered taboo, artist Jay Critchley made art out of discarded plastic tampon applicators washed up and collected on local beaches. With no idea what the items were used for, Critchley could not have known that his curiosity would lead to a decades-long quest to understand and improve issues surrounding menstrual product waste.
First, it is necessary to understand where Critchley began finding and collecting discarded applicators in the late 1970s. Greeting the Atlantic Ocean, on the East Coast of the United States, Massachusetts’ Cape Cod covers over 640 miles of shoreline, and, at its extreme tip, ends in a curled section of land known as Provincetown. In this historic whaling and fishing port, artists, the LGBTQ+ community, and outsiders have worked, holidayed and found refuge.2 Artists like Helen Frankenthaler, Edward Hopper, and Robert Motherwell made the town a micro epicentre of Modernism in the twentieth century, painting alongside drag queens, kings, and poets. Provincetown’s extreme position at the tip of the Cape has made it a safe haven for some, but it was also where the Mayflower first set anchor, and where settler colonists quickly squeezed out the Nauset tribe and renamed the Meeshawn settlement. Today, its inhabitants are still actively engaged in protecting the landscape’s beauty and all the aspects of the location that has made it a home and tourist destination for many. It was here, on one of the many sparkling beaches, that Critchley first came across a plastic item in the sand. And another one, and another one. And then hundreds, and, within years, thousands upon thousands.
Not knowing what the items were at first, Critchley began collecting the locally called ‘beach whistles’ systematically, and quickly incorporating them into his artistic practice.3 Being an artist with a long-standing interest in activism, Critchley was no stranger to working with stigmatised material, but, in the start, he was unaware that the plastic cylinders were controversial. Had it been someone who knew that the items were connected to menstruation, they would perhaps have been left until volunteers cleaned the beach (or not). However, Critchley’s lack of knowledge made him curious and enabled him to see beyond the history, value, or discourse surrounding tampons and menstruation.
Soon, Critchley was making artworks and performance pieces with the applicators, showing up as Miss Tampon Liberty and Captain TACKI (Tampon Applicator Creative Klubs International) at the Boston State Houses and legislative bodies in the region, presenting a bill to end the production of plastic, non-biodegradable tampon applicators once and for all.
Critchley did not succeed legislatively, but his artworks document a history of protest through creativity and solidarity nonetheless. It is a timely story that predates the current interest in menstrual environmentalism by decades, linking the contemporary movement to a history of collective action against marine debris, consumer boycott, and protest against corporations.4
Furthermore, this story underlines the important role artists and art have in modern environmentalist history. Artists have been part of changing the public perception of plastic tampons applicators from an unspeakable topic to an issue worthy of political and policy intervention. Breaking down boundaries between men and women, menstruators and non-menstruators, environmentalists and policy-makers, artists and the public, the story of Miss Tampon Liberty and Jay Critchley is one that challenges corporate and political amnesia regarding pollution in differently than other forms of activism, but in a complimentary way.
Beach whistles
So, what did Critchley find on the beach, exactly?
The items Critchley found were stripped clean by sea salt and sand, but retained their pinkish hues from the original colouring process of the hard plastic: notes of champagne, rose, cherry blossom, beige, cotton candy, coral, lavender, and bubble-gum. Colours with names invoking a whole host of other consumer items also increasingly being spotted on the Provincetown beaches in the mid- to late-twentieth century, and heavily gendered by association.
Sold to be easily disposed and discreet, tampons ended up in toilets, drainage systems and oceans across the world in the late-twentieth century.5 Plastic tampon applicators were part of the plastic turn in consumer items manufacturing begun in the late 1960s.6 Before this, tampons made by the dominating US brand Tambrands Incorporated, Tampax, had been inserted into the body by cardboard applicators, which were later flushed down the drain.7 These cardboard items also often ended up in the ocean, but would dissolve into smaller pieces much faster and not leave visible traces on beaches. Cardboard was unreliable to acquire, and the level of hardness could vary greatly across brands.8 Plastic, meanwhile, could be streamlined and quality assured easily, creating identical products across the world. For consumers, it was argued that insertion could be more comfortable, as cardboard quickly turned soggy and difficult to insert into the vagina, whereas plastic was non-absorptive and remained smooth.9
Visually, the cardboard system was much more suited to the prevalent menstrual taboos of twentieth-century North America and beyond, in which most menstruators were committed to keeping blood stains completely invisible, aided by commercial products.10 In contrast, the turn to plastic applicators did not uphold the menstrual secrecy system in the same way. Plastic items stay intact after use and washed up with a recognizable structural integrity different to that of other flotsam. It is likely that menstrual stigma contributed to the relatively lax environmental attitude to these items, as even people who knew what they were seeing turned away.
By the late-1970s, Critchley could easily monitor the popularity of plastic applicators by the number of items increasing on local beaches year by year.11 With no idea of their use-value, he nevertheless grew concerned about the increase in volume. What were these strange ‘beach whistles’ and why were they proliferating? Where did they come from? Who manufactured them, and did the manufacturer know that their plastic items ended up here, in Provincetown, crowding the protected sand dunes and water?
After being enlightened as to their use by a friend, Critchley became even more intrigued. Around the world, artists were making similar discoveries about the creative potential of the iconic forms of tampons and pads. Beginning with feminist artists such as Judy Chicago, Judy Clark, and Shigeko Kubota, menstrual products often featured in the earliest works about menstruation and gendered tropes.12 Critchley, likewise, became fascinated by the semiotic potential of menstrual products, and the ways in which they invoked many intersectional issues. Like other artists, he read the influential 1976 book The Curse: A Cultural History of Menstruation, and began accumulating information about the intersected economic, cultural, and medical aspects of the cycle.13
His research led him to question the corporate responsibility of companies like Tambrands Inc. Increasingly, concerns about plastic items were also being raised by the emerging feminist environmentalist movement in the 1970s, and Critchley was therefore able to read about the intertwined issues of cotton bleaching, dioxins, Toxic-Shock Syndrome, and package waste. The movement had been finding applicators on beaches worldwide, and Critchley collected material from several beaches, and had friends send him more. Understanding the industry also helped the artist focus his attention. There were only a handful of tampon producers large enough to inflict so much plastic on oceans and Provincetown’s beaches. Knowing who created the products and what they were used for helped him sharpen his ideas regarding turning the items into works of art, and soon after the Tampon Application Creative Klubs International (TACKI) was born – with Miss Tampon Liberty taking on the role as the mission’s global ambassador.
Miss Tampon Liberty
Critchley has only performed as Miss Tampon Liberty four times. First, he had to make the costume, sewing together 3,000 plastic applicators by hand. Wrapped around his body like a cape echoing the Statue of Liberty, the pink and coral colours blended into a moving tapestry of sound. Each plastic item bounced against its neighbours, creating an arresting rattling sound as Critchley moves.14 In his hand, a torch made of applicators, and on his head, a crown. Singing and dancing, his performance was designed to invoke sacred rituals from across the world, and the sound can create a trance-like atmosphere for listeners.
Miss Tampon Liberty is loud and visible, but she is certainly not in charge. The title ‘Miss’ was chosen by Critchley as a contrast to the increasingly popular ‘Ms’ of the 1970s, suggesting strict gender roles, as well as beauty contests and aesthetic discipline. Transgressing these boundaries as a cis-man, Critchley’s gender-bending performance was shocking to the onlookers who understood what the items covering his body symbolised. A police officer told him to leave the Boston State Capital, while others called him a ‘pervert’. Some asked questions, others laughed, while others delighted in his work and thanked him for bringing attention to the issue.
All the while, Critchley sought to spread awareness of the plastic applicator issue, keeping an eye on legislative change. Setting out to find the answers about corporate responsibility, Critchley connected with the Women’s Environmental Networks in the UK, Canada, and US.15 Critchley became an ally and his art a visual symbol of the movement.

His next two performances as Miss Tampon Liberty were conducted in a legislative and political settings alongside activists. The first such appearance was at the Massachusetts State Legislature to petition the state to ban plastic applicators (they did not), and then protesting the new Boston Sewage Outfall Pipe where applicators first entered the local water ecosystem. His site-specific performances and installations as Miss Tampon Liberty during the 1970s, 80s and 1990s were also captured in photographs, one of which shows the artist dressed in costume in front of the Statue of Liberty, saluting the larger artwork in a similar pose. People surrounding him are grinning, staring, or photographing the unusual scene, but the artist is dead serious. Miss Tampon Liberty is not funny, simply a political protest, nor a provocation. As a work of art, it inhabits a different realm. Activist art can empower communities, and is often created when an artist works with a community on a politically tense issue.16Critchley worked with environmentalists and menstrual activists, but he also worked with the community in the form of the physical environment around him.

Tampax Environmental Women of Action
While Critchley performed, the accumulative pressure from activists and consumers regarding the environmental damage of plastic applicators forced key companies to respond. In the early 1990s, Tambrands created the Tampax Environmental Women of Action program to “recognize US women who, through their creativity and determination have initiated environmental action in their communities.”17 In August 1992, Critchley received a letter informing him that he was nominated for the prize, and that he might become the “Women of Action” of the year. He had been nominated by Liz Armstrong (Women’s Environmental Network), whose book about the industry, Whitewash (co-authored with Adrienne Scott), was published in the same year.18 But Tambrands had not understood that Armstrong had nominated a man, instead addressing the letter to “Ms. Jaye Critchley.”
Perhaps the letter from Tampax was the poetic conclusion of Miss Tampon Liberty’s work, fleshing out the character with a first name and the more modern title of “Ms.” At any rate, “Jaye” was informed that “she” could win a $1,000 donation to a school of “her” choice to further environmental education, and a trip to New York for an awards ceremony. As a recognition for being nominated, “Jaye” received a free box of Tampax applicator tampons. Jay was left in stunned silence with another box of beach whistles. Needless to say, he did not win.
Petroleum applicator
The history of menstrual waste continues to evolve. The Women’s Environmental Network still organises an Environmenstrual week of awareness every year, and governments across the world have recently started collecting data about the issue and suggesting solutions.19 Menstrual products still wash up on shores all around the world, spurring volunteers, activists and local politicians into action. Corporations have responded with more reusable menstrual products, although plastic applicator tampons remain more popular than cloth pads or cups.20
For Critchley, these recent changes are not enough. “Petroleum,” he answers, when people want to know what the real problem is.21 It was always about petroleum. In the activist and legislative work on plastics, it is easy to forget that the applicators themselves originate deep within the land, from the oil fields and natural gas their material is made of. Critchley is angered by the clever way corporations and politicians have bowed to the petrochemical industry, even in the midst of a climate crisis, to continue producing more products that are not bio-degradable and labelling them with what he perceives to be the more familiar and sociable term ‘plastic’.22 Critchley points out that the pressure to change is now on the individual menstrual consumer to recycle and make better choices, but the choices are often limited to different types of petroleum products.23 Meanwhile, plastic menstrual products are still very popular.24

By exploring the menstrual product industry in his art for the last forty years, Miss Tampon Liberty and Critchley have reconfigured the maligned object of menstrual waste several times. From his discovery of innocent “beach whistles” in the 1970s, to the realisation about their practical use as plastic tampon applicators, and, to the call for a more precise definition of plastics as “petroleum items.” While he finds less applicators on shorelines these days (Boston Sewage Outfall Pipe installed a filter in the 1990s that stopped products entering the sea), the odd applicator still turns up on Provincetown’s beaches, where Critchley continues to live and work.
Dr. Camilla Mørk Røstvik (she/her) is a Research Fellow at the University of Leeds and Co-PI with the Menstruation Research Network. Her publications include “Mother Nature as Brand Strategy: Gender and Creativity in Tampax Advertising 2007–2009″ (2020) and “Blood in the shower: a visual history of menstruation and clean bodies” (2018) among other works.

1. The word ‘Environmenstrual’ was most likely coined by the Women’s Environmental Network in the late-twentieth century. On the history of the network, see ‘Our History’, WEN: https://www.wen.org.uk/history/
2. Karen Christel Krahulik, Provincetown: From Pilgrim Landing to Gay Resort (New York, NY: New York University Press, 2007).
3. Artist website: http://www.jaycritchley.com/tacki.html (all websites accessed 20 April 2021).
4. On the history of menstrual activism, see Chris Bobel, New Blood: Third Wave Feminism and the Politics of Menstruation (Rutgers, 2010).
5. Cecilia Alda-Vidal, Alison L. Browne, Claire Hoolohan, ‘”Unflushables”: Establishing a Global Agenda for Action on Everyday Practices Associated with Sewer Blockages, Water Quality, and Plastic Pollution’, WIREs Water Vol 7, No 4 (2020), e1452.
6. On the early history of the industry, see Sharra L. Vostral, Under Wraps: A History of Menstrual Hygiene Technology (New York, NY: Lexington Books, 2008); Karen Houppert, The Curse: Confronting the Last Unmentionable Taboo: Menstruation (New York, NY: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2000); Elizabeth Arveda Kissling, Capitalizing on the Curse: The Business of Menstruation (Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2006).
7. On the history of Tambrands from the 1930s to 1980s see Ronald H Bailey, Small Wonder: How Tambrands Began, Prospered and Grew. Tambrands Incorporated, 1987. In 1997, Procter & Gamble acquired the business, see Dyer, Davis; Frederick Dalzell, Rowena Olegario. Rising Tide: Lessons from 165 Years of Brand Building at Procter and Gamble. Harvard, MA: Harvard Business School Press, 2004.
8. Author interview with General Manager of Tambrands plant in Ukraine (during 1980s-1990s, now retired), Yury Saakov, 28 October 2019; Author interview with Essity Product Developer Monica Kjellberg (during 1990s, now retired), 24 March 2018.
9. ‘The Benefits of Tampax Pearl Plastic Applicator’, Tampax website: https://tampax.co.uk/en-gb/tampax-articles/my-first-tampon/the-benefits-of-tampax-pearl-plastic-applicator-tampons (accessed 4 May 2021).
10. Jill Wood, ‘(In)Visible Bleeding: The Menstrual Concealment Imperative’ in Bobel et al (eds.), The Palgrave Handbook of Critical Menstruation Studies, pp 319-336.
11. On menstrual products and marine pollution see for example Resource Futures, Mapping Economic, Behavioural and Social Factors within the Plastic Value Chain that lead to Marine Litter in Scotland, The Scottish Government (September 2019); Plastic Periods: Menstrual Products and Plastic Pollution, Friends of the Earth (15 October 2018): https://friendsoftheearth.uk/sustainable-living/plastic-periods-menstrual-products-and-plastic-pollution; European Commission, Reducing Marine Litter: Action on Single Use Plastics and Fishing Gear (2018); London Assembly Environment Committee, ‘Single-use Plastics: Unflushables. Submitted Evidence’ (August 2019): https://www.london.gov.uk/sites/default/files/plastics_unflushables_-_submited_evidence.pdf
12. Ruth Green-Cole, ‘Painting Blood: Visualizing Menstrual Blood in Art’ in Chris Bobel et al (eds.), The Palgrave Handbook of Critical Menstruation Studies (Palgrave Macmillan, 2020).
13. Emily Toth, Janice Delaney, Mary Lupton, The Curse: A Cultural History of Menstruation (University of Illinois Press, 1976).
14. Critchley was captured on camera while performing in Teresa MacInnes 1998 documentary about menstruation Under Wraps (55 min): https://www.nfb.ca/film/under_wraps/
15. Later, a small number of important books on environmental pollution and menstrual products were published on the basis of the activist work done in the 1970s: Liz Armstrong, Adrienne Scott, Whitewash: Exposing the Health and Environmental Dangers of Women’s Sanitary Products and Disposable Diapers: What You Can Do about It (Harper Perennial, 1992); Alison Costello, The Sanitary Protection Scandal: Sanitary Towels, Tampons, and Babies’ Nappies: Environmental and Health Hazards of Production, Use and Disposal (Women’s Environmental Network, 1989); Lori Katz, Barb Meyer, 101 Super Uses for tampon Applicators: A Helpful Guide for the Environmentally Conscious Consumer of Feminine Hygiene Products (Sourcebook, 1995).
16. Marit Dewhurst, Social Justice Art: A Framework for Activist Art Pedagogy (Harvard Education Press, 2014); Nina Felshin, But is it Art? Spirit of Art as Activism (Bay Press, 1995).
17. Letter to Ms Jaye Critchley from Tambrands Inc. Marketing Manager Beth DiNardo regarding Tampax Environmental Women of Action, 13 August 1992. Artist’s personal collection. Courtesy of Jay Critchley.
18. Armstrong, Scott, Whitewash.
19. ‘Environmenstrual’, Women’s Environmental Network UK website: https://www.wen.org.uk/our-work/environmenstrual/
20. Potdar, Mugdha. Feminine Hygiene Products Market by Type and Distribution Channel – Global Opportunities Analysis and Industry Forecast, 2015-2020. Allied Market Research, April 2016. https://www.alliedmarketresearch.com/feminine-hygiene-market
21. Author interview with Critchley via Zoom, 12 February 2021.
22. Ibid.
23. Ibid.
24. Resource Futures, Mapping Economic, Behavioural and Social Factors within the Plastic Value Chain that lead to Marine Litter in Scotland (The Scottish Government, September 2019): https://www.gov.scot/binaries/content/documents/govscot/publications/research-and-analysis/2020/02/mapping-economic-behavioural-social-factors-within-marine-plastic-value-chain-scotland/documents/menstrual-products/menstrual-products/govscot%3Adocument/menstrual-products.pdf (accessed 4 May 2021), 15; Rajanbir Kaur, Kanwalijit Kaur, Rajinder Kaur, ‘Menstrual Hygiene, Management, and Waste Disposal: Practices and Challenges Faced by Girls/Women of Developing Countries’, Journal of Environmental and Public Health (2018): doi: 10.1155/2018/1730964



13. Flako Jimenez, FF Alumn, now online in The New Yorker

Please visit this link:


Thank you.



14. LuLu LoLo, FF Member, now online at Paterson Literary Review

Here is my recently published memoir The Sentinels connecting my #viewfromthe28floor photos on IG with her East Harlem past published in the Published Paterson Literary Review Issue 49, 2021


The Sentinels
LuLu LoLo

Growing up in Italian East Harlem, there were Sentinels who observed life on “the block” with their fluffy pillows protecting their arms from the rough windowsills as they leaned out their open windows surveying the comings and goings of their neighbors. The Sentinels with their graying hair and flowery house dresses would be known to report on the activities of all, especially what deviated from the normal pattern of life. If a child ran out into the street for a ball barely missing being hit by a car, that child’s parent would be informed. Children could always play outside under the watchful eye of the Sentinel. If someone didn’t leave for work one day, an inquiry on their health was a necessary act. An arrival of a doctor with a medical bag, or an ambulance, or the local funeral director would put the Sentinel on high alert. Any sign of smoke from a window would be cause for the Sentinel to sound a loud cry. No one feared robbery, for how could that happen when there were Sentinels on “the block”. All familial arrivals in their Sunday best carrying the requisite cake box tied with its red and white string received a knowing nod from the Sentinel that family traditions were being upheld. Did the Sentinels confer and schedule different shifts? When the Sentinels abandoned their posts for the dinner hour—was that deemed the safest time on “the block”?

During New York’s Pandemic Pause, my neighbors on “the block” in their confinement migrated to their rooftops. I have now become a Sentinel but without a pillow—you can’t lean out of a window if you are on the 28th floor. I have come to know the life rhythms of “the block” via its rooftops. The gatherings on the elegant brick rooftop terrace, the young couple now with a baby, the ping pong players, the woman who sunbathes on the blue lounge chair, the man with a young son who never plays on the roof, the woman jumping rope, the nightly balcony gatherings around a table, the two men boxing, the constant stream of construction workers on various roofs, and the ebb and flow of activities: exercising, picnics, meditating, reading, photographing, videotaping, intimate conversations, beanbag playing—all on the expanse of the cluster of the seven white roofs of the buildings below my 28th floor.

I am a different Sentinel from the Sentinels of my childhood—my window views are not verbally communicated or discussed with other neighbors but are chronicled daily on Instagram #viewfromthe28floor IG:thelululolo



15. Annie Lanzillotto, FF Alumn, receives Allen Ginsberg Award honorable mention

FF Alum Annie Lanzillotto's poem "Nerina" received honorable mention for the Allen Ginsberg Award from Paterson Literary Review. Published in Vol 47. And... on 9/9 Annie hosts "Tell Me A Story" a CityLore salon on Zoom, with guest star: activist Valerie Reyes-Jimenez, on "AIDS at 40." 2 min limit Open Mic. for more info: Lanzillotto@gmail.com



16. Jay Critchley, Harley Spiller, FF Alumns, in new publication

Hello dear writers!

I'm so happy to share that our book of letters is finished!

If you're interested in purchasing a physical copy of Last Day, First Day, you can do so at this Lulu bookstore listing.

Thank you again for your powerful participation and your valued patience.

Happy reading and happy writing!
Erik Benjamins



Goings On is compiled weekly by Harley Spiller