Program – Hustlers & Empires

Destination Performance
Saturday, March 17, 2018
5 p.m. (Cocktail hour)
6 p.m. (Performance)
Floor 4, Gina and Stuart Peterson White Box*

*Please use the Joyce and Larry Stupski Entrance at Minna Street


Durational Performance
Saturday, March 17, 2018
1–4 p.m.
Floor 4, Gina and Stuart Peterson White Box


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.


Portrait of Michelle Handelman

Michelle Handelman

Artist/Director/Producer

Michelle Handelman uses video, live performance, and photography to make hypnotic moving image installations that push against the boundaries of gender, race, and sexuality. Coming up through the years of the AIDS crisis and Culture Wars, Handelman has built a body of confrontational and phantasmagoric works that blur the line between fiction and reality, investigating philosophical questions of existence about the things we collectively fear and deny: sex, death, and chaos. A 2011 Guggenheim Fellow, Handelman has been exhibited internationally, including at Pompidou Centre, Paris; ICA, London; Eli & Edythe Broad Art Museum, Michigan; PERFORMA; Guangzhou 53 Art Museum; PARTICIPANT, INC, NYC; Lincoln Center; REDCAT. Her work is in the collection of Moscow Museum of Contemporary Art; Kadist Art Foundation SF/Paris; di Rosa Foundation and Preserve, California; and Zabludowicz Art Trust, London. Handelman is an Associate Professor in the Film, Media, and Performing Arts department at the Fashion Institute of Technology, NYC. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.