Cheryl Donegan is a prolific feminist performer and visual artist, whose work is currently being exposed at the New Museum in New York . Donegan’s art is provocative, ironic and, quite often, politically incorrect.
This is illustrated by her 1993 famous Kiss My Royal Irish Ass (K.M.R.I.A.)” performance now shown at the New Museum. Andrea K. Scott, in the New Yorker reviews how, in K.M.R.I.A , Donegan ironically de-constructs male painters gaze and use of women’s bodies by staging a riot-grrrl update of French artists Yves Klein’s famous paintings titled ” Anthropometries”
In the French artist’s indelible 1960 hybrids of performance and painting, he directed nude women, slathered in blue, to act as surrogate brushes. Donegan directed herself; D.I.Y. is one of her trademarks. In the resulting video, we see the artist (in biker boots and her underwear) empty a can of green paint onto the floor, dip her derrière in the puddle, and leave imprints of it on a sheet of paper. When she adds a brushstroke—a stem—the image turns into a shamrock. A man walks into the frame and pours Donegan a pint of Guinness. As she lampoons a modern master, not to mention the long-standing cliché that painting is a drinking-man’s club, Donegan also mocks the early-nineties obsession with sanctimonious identity politics. Her identity: a body-conscious Irish-American. The piece is hilarious but also in conflict, at once feminist and politically incorrect.
Image: Still from K.M.R.Y.A