Say “performance art” in mixed company and you’re liable to have no company around you in no time. It’s a great way to kill a party. For better or worse, performance art has this pretentious reputation. Performance art conjures up images of people standing in a gallery doing some mundane thing and charging people money to see it. It’s hard to perform and even harder to convince people that your particular message is one that belongs in a gallery.
When famous people do performance art, it’s laughed off a lot, too. Lady Gaga confused people with her Marina Abramovic-inspired VMA performance this year. Yoko Ono has been confusing people for decades with her performance art (though, oddly, her installations of ladders, telephones, and other every day objects tend to get a pass). James Franco is getting a lot of crap for pursuing art projects and Hollywood feature films, leading to a lot of downright homophobic jokes and comments about his non-narrative work.
Yet sometimes, it’s that element of fame that can give the audience enough context to accept performance art. Last year, while fulfilling her duties as winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race, Sharon Needles wrote and performed a shocking piece of performance art called “TV Will Never Love You.” It’s incredibly NSFW and will be discussed in great detail below the jump.