Michelle Handelman’s new work, Hustlers & Empires, unfolds like a memory play, as three unnamed figures gather for a talk show and recount their lives on the make. Loosely based on the lead characters of Iceberg Slim’s memoir Pimp (1967), Federico Fellini’s short film Toby Dammit (1968), and Marguerite Duras’s novel The Lover (1984), the three protagonists weigh their unique transgressions against stacked social decks. Starring Shannon Funchess, John Kelly, and Viva Ruiz — performing artists well-known for their disruptive aesthetics — this three-channel video projection and installation draws on criminal glamour to illuminate the journey of the outsider: part survival strategy, part self-aggrandizement, and part critique of the world as it is.
— Frank Smigiel, associate curator, performance and film
Michelle Handelman’s Hustlers & Empires is presented as a part of the Limited Edition series.