REVEAL: AN EVENING OF DIALOGUE & DANCE
623 S Wabash Ave, 1 st Fl, Chicago, IL 60605
Opening Thursday, March 16th, from 6PM - 8PM
On view through Tuesday, March 21st
Artist, sex worker, and burlesque performer and producer Erica McKeehen (Greta-X) invites five local burlesque performers to join her for an in-person conversation about their experiences authoring their bodies and navigating roles in the sex industry. Following the discussion, each participant will take to the stage, bringing their individual and eclectic styles of performance to life for an evening of provocative and powerful burlesque!
Special guests are some of McKeehen’s collaborators: Poppy Seed, Kevlar B Lightning, Shirley Blazen, Secret Mermaid, and Kitty Tornado (McKeehen’s creative comrade and coproducer).
About the exhibition
In REVEAL, Erica McKeehen presents two prominent collages of imagery, Flores Turquesas: Seven Years with Kitty Tornado and Days of Rust: Self-Portraits, as separate pieces in conversation.
Flores Turquesas: Seven Years with Kitty Tornado is comprised of small-to-medium scale photographs and handwritten pieces made in collaboration with McKeehen’s best friend, muse, and fellow performer, Kitty Tornado (who has performed burlesque since 2015). Tornado and her husband David left Chicago in 2019 and shortly thereafter moved to Almuñécar, Spain to live. In the summer of 2022, McKeehen traveled to Spain with funds from the Stuart Abelson Graduate Research Fellowship. She split her time between exploring local burlesque shows and performers in Madrid and collaborating with Marguerite in the south of Spain, as well as traveling with her to Granada, Seville, and Valencia. With Tornado now living back in Chicago, both women co-produce Lust for Life, a monthly rock n’ roll-themed burlesque show in Chicago’s Ukrainian Village.
In Days of Rust: Self-Portraits McKeehen’s manner of seeing herself reflects on her coded identities as both a stage performer and sex worker (under the alias Greta-X) whose craft and livelihood are dependent upon being looked at. When viewed together, the pieces in REVEAL resist voyeurism and spectacle and instead explore creative comradery and community through nuanced views of femme experience, sexuality, and autonomy.
This exhibition is partially sponsored by Columbia College’s Photography Department and the Stuart R. Abelson Graduate Research Fellowship. The Stuart R. Abelson Graduate Research Fellowship was established to encourage international travel among Photography students while completing a specific project and to support the experience by assisting with the costs of travel.
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