Back to THE HISTORY OF THE FUTUREFall 1999/ Winter 2000

Friday, January 7, 2000, Dis-Ability:
Frank Moore, "Cave of Dreams"; Jesse Jane Lewis, "Stings," "A Change in the Perception of Red," "Video SkitZ," "Stick to Black."

Artists who are dis-abled let us in on world views that are radically different from able ones. Bob Flanagan commenced his 1991 performance for Franklin Furnace's "Asylum in the Anchorage" by coughing off stage. For a long time. When he came on stage he was wearing a green hospital gown, and told us what it was like to grow up with cystic fibrosis, a condition which makes each and every breath painful. Pain was Bob's life. So he resolved to master pain. He then whipped off his hospital gown to reveal his pierced nipples, and Sheree Rose, his companion, hoisted him up to the ceiling while video monitors playing as the head, hands, penis and feet formed a giant crucifix, conflating images from popular culture with video of Bob driving a nail through his penis, for example. (One member of the audience fainted at this point.) What was so great about Bob Flanagan and Sheree Rose's work was that it made sado-masochism a sensible life path--taking disability and making it his strength, through the agency of performance.


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