When the lines are full, the factory workers and one of three trained tech dykes strike the lines, keeping them taut so they don’t droop and brush anyone (although this happened once the first night at Highways). Plastic bags are staked beneath the pulleys, and the prints are bagged right there.
Athey went on to write about his notoriety:
Among my friends and cohorts, media whores and other artists, the unanimous response to the controversy surrounding my Minneapolis performance has been "Congratulations" or "That’s the best thing that could have happened to you." Maybe, but the victory is bittersweet.
Since the "attack," I’ve had to define and contextualize my work. I feel if I do too much of it, the work will become self-conscious. I’ve also had to search for my peers. Who’s in this with me? . . .
On a working level, I feel blacklisted. It’s good for "alternative" performance spaces to present an artist who has press controversies, but who will take on the religious right and the "taxpayers"? Who will risk losing their funding? . . .
This controversy over my "funding" and the content of my art has left me feeling even more marginalized from the arts community and the gay community. . . I resent that I feel a responsibility to the NEA, that I feel responsible for their funding agenda, which has never directly funded me and probably never will. But somehow we’re caught up together.
By this point in the Weekly’s history, reviewing had gone beyond art to include the odd architecture piece (by the likes of John Pastier, Michael Gildea, Aaron Betsky) and even some dance criticism. And while the art reviewing had previously been spread around to a number of critics (Peter Frank, Lane Relyea, Susan Kandel), it was now in the hands of Ralph Rugoff. Over the five or so years he was the Weekly’s regular biweekly critic, Rugoff reviewed dozens of gallery and museum shows. But he also pushed the limits of art criticism, writing about such subjects as the 75th Annual Convention of the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions, the L.A. Times redesign, the L. Ron Hubbard Life Exhibition, and Madame Tussaud’s wax museum, about which he wrote:
The stationary quality of waxworks isn’t, ultimately, a drawback but a virtue. For one thing, static images are more deeply engraved in memory. A still image can draw focus with unremitting intensity in a way that moving, and potentially more lifelike, images can’t. A man who goes blind at the age of 50 finds that he remembers his wife’s face not from daily life, but from familiar photographs.
The frozen postures of wax figures imbue them with the uncanniness of the spellbound; with in ward-gazing eyes, even Arnold Schwarz e negger radiates an entranced serenity. And precisely because they’re motionless, you can examine them at your leisure, scrutinize them with a thoroughness rarely permitted when looking at living bodies. At a time when the parameters of the real are blurring, there’s something reassuring about their obvious artifice, something comforting in their failure to deceive us.
And if they come to life, you alone are responsible.
That brings us into the recent past. Happily, over the last three years we’ve been able to increase our regular art coverage. It’s not enough, of course, and never will be. There’s just too much going on. Which is why all those German artists want to be here.