Obie Award-winning performance artist and infamous member of the "NEA Four" Holly Hughes completes the first New York City run of her solo work, Preaching to the Perverted, May 21. This piece, workshopped by Hughes in 1999 at Dixon Place, began performances April 27 at P.S. 122 with Split Britches' co-founder Lois Weaver directing.
In 1990, Hughes found herself going from small-time performance artist playing in small downtown venues to the center of a government attack on culture. Robert Hughes (no relation) called Hughes and fellow NEA Four plaintiff Karen Finley (American Chestnut & We Keep Our Victims Ready), "emblems of everything that is wrong with American art today." The Reverend Donald Wildmon (of the American Family Association) had her investigated as a child pornographer.
With Perverted, Hughes investigates the darker side of democracy, reporting on her recent appearance before the U.S. Supreme Court, while taking on Jesse Helms, giving glimpses of gay agenda, exploring life on the Lower East Side and generally demonstrating the "short comic shelf life of martyrdom."
Hughes began her career at the WOW Cafe, during the dawn of America's Reagan era. Her first play, The Well of Horniness, was presented at numerous spots around the city, including nightclubs like The Pyramid Club and the Limbo Lounge, and theatres like P.S. 122. Hughes has received several NEA grants and funding from the Rockefeller, Ford and Astrea Foundation. A collection of her pieces, titled "Clit Notes: A Sapphic Sampler," was published by Grove Press and was nominated for a LAMBDA Book Award.