Black Lips: Her Life and Her Many, Many Deaths
ANOHNI and Marti Wilkerson
From June 1992 to March 1995, in the midst of the AIDS crisis in NYC, an extraordinary theatrical collective emerged from the queer underground. Blacklips Performance Cult, initiated by ANOHNI and joined by a cabal of fellow artists, drag queens, punks, nightlife veterans and students, performed a new... Read More
From June 1992 to March 1995, in the midst of the AIDS crisis in NYC, an extraordinary theatrical collective emerged from the queer underground. Blacklips Performance Cult, initiated by ANOHNI and joined by a cabal of fellow artists, drag queens, punks, nightlife veterans and students, performed a new play every Monday night at 1:00 a.m. at the Pyramid Club on 101 Avenue A. Blacklips never courted mainstream attention. However, the group left a sustaining impression within New York’s late night subculture by melding hysterical drag, surreal horror, and disconcerting tenderness. In Blacklips: Her Life and Her Many, Many Deaths, ANOHNI and coeditor Marti Wilkerson lay bare the collective’s archives in photographs, scripts, and the assembled ephemera from more than one hundred and twenty original “plays.” Featuring images from newly digitized film and video recordings, texts from participants and audience members, and an introduction by Lia Gangitano, this expansive collection introduces to the twenty-first century the short-lived and ruthlessly creative phenomenon that was Blacklips.
ANOHNI is a visual artist, musician, and playwright who spent her twenties performing music and staging plays in late-night clubs and experimental theaters in New York City. She formed her music group Antony and the Johnsons—named in memory of trans activist Marsha P. Johnson—in 1998. After releasing the group’s self-titled first record in 2000 and touring around the world with Lou Reed as a backup singer, her second album I Am a Bird Now (2005) was awarded the Mercury Prize in the UK. ANOHNI has since released The Crying Light (2008), Swanlights (2009), the live album Cut the World (2012), TURNING (film and live album, 2014) and HOPELESSNESS (2016), a collaboration with Hudson Mohawke and Daniel Lopatin. She curated the 2012 Meltdown Festival at the Southbank in London, and has performed her music with symphonies in venues including the Royal Opera House in London, Teatro Royale in Madrid, Sydney Opera House, the Olympia in Paris, and Carnegie Hall and Radio City Music Hall. ANOHNI’s visual installations, performances, and plays have been presented by institutions including Kunsthal Nikolaj in Copenhagen, Bielefeld Kunsthalle in Germany, MoMA, the Whitney Museum, The Kitchen NYC, Aarhus 2017 Capital of Culture, and the Barbican. ANOHNI is affiliated with Sikemma Jenkins gallery in NYC. ANOHNI was musical director for Robert Wilson’s “The Life and Death of Marina Abramovic” and scored Valentino’s Spring collection presentation “Anatomy of Couture” in Milan in February 2022. She has appeared as a guest on recordings by artists including Laurie Anderson, Bjork, and Yoko Ono. ANOHNI is artist advisor to The Holland Festival in 2023.
Marti Wilkerson is a New York–based photographer and performance artist. Her photos have been exhibited at PARTICIPANT, INC. NYC, in the group show Dead Flowers (2010) and published in such books as NY Rock by Steven Blush (St. Martin's Press, 2016) and Live Suburbia! by Max G. Morton (powerHouse, 2011). She is the vocalist and lyricist of Beaut, a musical collaboration with electric guitarist Paul Twinkle. Beaut have played Rubulad Bushwick's For Jack Terricloth (2021), MoMA PS 1 in Songs of Ruin (2010), at New Museum for Brion Gysin Dream Machine (2010) and with Breyer P-Orridge in A Candy Cabaret (1999-2009). As an actress, she has starred as “Goodyear” in the film Cremaster 1 by Matthew Barney (1996), and appeared in the play She Who Saw Beautiful Things by ANOHNI (2019). She has worked previously with ANOHNI as "Lost Forever" in the Blacklips Performance Cult.