Doors: 7:30pm
Show: 8:00pm

Renowned performance artist and activist Karen Finley returns to Chicago with two weekends of acerbic riveting performances taking on politics, sexuality, trauma, and national policy. As an artist who is known for her strong language, censorship and activism Finley brings her insight as an artist as historical recorder challenging the status quo. Finley was one the artists known as the NEA4 with a suit with the Supreme Court.

In her second weekend in Steppenwolf’s 1700 Theatre, Finley presents Unicorn Gratitude Mystery, an experimental take-down of today's political landscape fresh off a rave-reviewed New York run. Finley’s latest solo performance explores the recent heightened US political presidential landscape, taking on citizenship, gender disparity and abuse of power. The individual price of public relationships at the price of privacy becomes divisive with searing psychosexual dynamics of wit and seething revelation. The performance explores magical beings, aggressive thankfulness, and collective intimacy through Shakespearean sudden trauma. This is an experimental nonlinear poetic text that creates a jolt of intuition, analysis and unnatural disaster of the human kind. Finley plays a unicorn, and morphs into a Hillary like Trump like being while enveloping into the blueness of the blue dress of Monica Lewinsky.

Review: Karen Finley Has Presidential Politics on Her MindThe New York Times

KAREN FINLEY is an artist, performer, and author. Born in Chicago, she attended the Art Institute of Chicago and received her MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute. Working in a variety of mediums such as installation, video, performance, public art, visual art, memorials, music, and literature, she has performed and exhibited internationally. Finley is interested in freedom of expression concerns; visual culture; and art education and lectures; and gives workshops widely. She is the author of eight books, including her latest, the 25th anniversary edition of Shock Treatment (City Lights).

Her recent work includes Mandala: Reimagined Columbus Circle, an interactive walk that examines the symbols and history of Columbus Circle, presented by Elastic City and supported by GSAAP at Columbia University; Artist Anonymous – a self help open meeting for those addicted to art, first presented at Museum of Art and Design NYC; Written in Sand, a performance of her writings on AIDS; Open Heart, a Holocaust memorial at Camp Gusen, Austria; Unicorn, Gratitude Mystery, a solo performance that explores the psychological portrayals of power that drive American election politics; and Sext ME if You Can, where Finley creates commissioned portraits inspired by “sexts” received from the public. A recipient of many awards and grants, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, she is an arts professor in Art and Public Policy at New York University.

Watch & Listen

Content Advisory

Steppenwolf does not offer advisories about subject matter, as sensitivities vary from person to person.If you have any questions about content, age-appropriateness or stage effects(such as strobe lights or theatrical fog) that might have a bearing on patron comfort, please contact the box office at 312-335-1650.

Additional Information

This show is a part of Steppenwolf's LookOut Series - a new multi-genre performance series, presenting a wide variety of work, coming from a diverse array of voices, artists emerging and established alike.

In our brand new 1700 Theatre, a casual, intimate and flexible 80-seat theater located behind Front Bar: Coffee and Drinks - Steppenwolf's new destination for coffee, drinks and food.