Here’s a list of questions often asked for Press Release for art exhibits:
1. WHO: is doing this? This is an art exhibit by Kembra Pfahler, founder of the n.y.c. based theatrical rock band “The Voluptuous Honor of Karen Black”. Other longtime members will be seen in the archival posters and drawing and Polaroids on view, like co-founder and Guitarist Samoa Moriki.
2. What: will happen at this show? There will be new photos as well as historical works. Kembra has been doing this band project since 1990. Before that she and Samoa spent a decade together doing performance and films on New York. There will be scheduled talks and live performances in July at the gallery space. (Its me kembra writing this press release…) Stay in touch about scheduling.
3. Where: is it? This show is at Emalin gallery. 1 Hollywell Ln. to reach people about this show…firstname.lastname@example.org or Angelina@emalin.com or email@example.com - thank you -
4. Why: are you doing this? This is my 3rd solo exhibit at Emalin. A gallery I really love doing things at. This show is called “sound-off” which is a phrased verb that means “to voice ones opinions freely and vigorously” so while I still can, I will…be happy to share these new and old works with you all. Much love Kembra TUHKB. Hand-written by the artist.
Emalin is pleased to present On The Record, Off The Record: Sound Off, a solo exhibition of new and archival works by American artist Kembra Pfahler, the artist’s third at the gallery. The exhibition comprises never-before-seen collages made for the artist’s performances in the 1990s across the venues of New York’s underground scene, alongside a selection of recent drawings. Sound Off is the third of Pfahler’s On The Record, Off The Record trilogy, following live performances at New York’s Pioneer Works earlier this year and at Participant Inc in 2021. A recording of the Participant Inc performance, live-streamed last year due to pandemic restrictions, is screened on the ground floor.
Pfahler is a key “gure of New York’s underground scene. With a practice spanning music, performance, acting, “lm and visual arts since the 1980s, the image vocabulary she has built informs the countercultural aesthetics of the Lower East Side. Drawing references from monstrous fetishistic femininity, she founded the death-rock band The Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black in 1990. Throughout the 1990s, TVHKB regularly performed in New York’s iconic venues, including the notorious Limelight, Pyramid Club, and CBGB. Photocopies of Pfahler’s handmade black and white collages were used as posters to announce these concerts and featured her collaborators, such as her husband and guitarist of the band, Samoa Moriki, or the sex work activist and educator Annie Sprinkle.
The band’s cult performances incorporate handmade costumes and props created along the lines of Pfahler’s philosophies, tongue-in-cheek subversions of art history’s attempts at categorising. ‘Availabism’ simply means making use of whatever is available; and ‘beautalism’, fostering an idea of beauty that allows for transformation, where “vanity is the enemy of interpretation”. The ceremonial treatment of her body in transgressive acts in performances and in “lms - including her role in the Cinema of Transgression movement of the 1970s and 80s - is the source of a visual vocabulary that unfolds across the range of media she employs. The acts, scenarios, props and costumes re-emerge as photographs in collages, as snapshots on Polaroid, and later recur in her practice in the form of drawing, which she refers to as Non-Fiction Illustrations. Portraying herself and the Girls of Karen Black in the style of a ‘femlin’, she subverts the hypersexualised cartoons originally gleaned from illustrations in Playboy magazine and the normative social psyche that produced them
Visual elements like the ‘femlin’, symbols like the bat with breasts, or gestures such as the attachment of bowling balls to her feet have been staple motifs in Pfahler’s performances from the 1980s until today. They conjure a spirit of, at the same time, subversive protest and passioned transgression against the violence of the normative. In her own words, “I saw the bat with breasts, which is on the social Karen Black Flag, in a truck stop years ago; it was mean-spirited and I saw it as the emblem to represent our America. Fierce, female, vicious, and fun. The idea of delating misogyny appeals to me.” From the press release.