Ron Athey is a Los Angeles-based performance artist, making work since 1980 in the form of solos, company work, and collaborations. His work is aligned with body art, the HIV/AIDS pandemic era, esoterica, the bloat of opera, and queering Georges Bataille.
Since the 90s he has toured extensively in the USA/Europe and parts of latin America, receiving commissions from ICA London, Kampnagel Hamburg, and most recently the Mike Kelley Foundation for the upcoming January 25th performance of Gifts of the Spirit, a collaboration with Sean Griffin based on Athey’s childhood Pentecostal memoirs and he and Grirrfin’s mutual interest in Spiritualism, automatism, channeling, and opera. Collectively authored text is generated from the automatic writing with 35 particpants. In 2013 Intellect Press published an extensive monograph of his work titled Pleading in the Blood. Additionally, Athey is a visiting lecturer at Roski School/USC, having just finished a seminar titled “Undergrounds and Avant Gardes”, looking at L.A.-centric undergrounds, starting with the Azusa Street Revival, going through various UFO cults, the legalization of pornography, Hollywood Satan, and the origins of the west coast punk and death rock scenes.