Witte de With Contemporary Art
Ron Athey
M
Ron Athey

Ron Athey (b.1961, Groton, Connecticut ) is a central figure in the development of live art. From his earliest performances in 1981, to his influential and often bloody works of the mid-1990s, to more recent works, Athey’s visceral practice has both foreseen and precipitated the central place afforded to sexuality, identity, and the body within visual art and critical thought. 2013 marked the release of “Pleading in the Blood”, the first anthology dedicated to Athey’s life and work, edited by Dominic Johnson and published by Intellect and Live the Art Development Agency.

Raised in a Pentecostal household in the Inland Empire, the young Ronnie Lee was sainted as a prophet messiah who proselytized in tongues, and whose tears were coveted by the entire congregation. He began performing at underground galleries with Rozz Williams in 1981 in a collaboration known as Premature Ejaculation. From 1992 to 1995, he developed his ‘torture’ trilogy: Martyrs & Saints, 4 Scenes in A Harsh Life, and Deliverance. He has since presented major solo, ensemble, and collaborative works internationally. Recent works include Judas Cradle (2005), and the Incorruptible Flesh series (1997-present).