Ron Athey

Artadia Awardee

“The 2019 Artadia Awardees represent the best of what makes seeing art in LA so interesting. While Carmen, Diedrick, and Ron work in markedly different, idiosyncratic modes—Carmen is thinking through locality and identity by experimenting with nontraditional materials and emphasizing process within the studio and without; whereas Diedrick is plumbing a history of textiles that encompasses Kente cloth, Bauhaus weaving, the Unicorn Tapestries, and slave-produced cotton, signified in both technique and allegorical imagery; and Ron, whose work in performance art has already secured his place in art history, is unspooling and synthesizing myths and rituals of Surrealist secret societies, Christianity, and ancient Greece in performances keyed to the proto-fascism of our political present–all three are exceptionally creative intellects and makers.”

-Anna Katz

Ron Athey is an artist who began making work in the L.A. underground music scenes of the early 80s. His performance work in the 90s was directly linked to both the body modification movements and AIDS activism, while his 00s projects link closely to the writings of Jean Genet and Georges Bataille. Working in theater, sculpture, word virus, video and experimental voice, Athey continues to reference Pentecostal “gifts”, survival of the AIDS body, sexuality and mythology. Athey currently collaborates with opera director Sean Griffin, extreme vocalist Carmina Escobar, and artist Hermes Pittakos. He is currently touring Acephalous Monster, a solo performance based on topics derived from the secret society of Acéphale, preparing a survey show curated from his archive by art historians Amelia Jones and Andy Campbell to open at Participant Inc., NYC in 2020.

Ron Athey is the recipient of the 2019 Los Angeles Artadia Award.