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Women's Home Altars: The Art of Relationships

Photo by Kay Turner, Austin, TX 1979 Soledad "Chole" Pescina at home with her personal altar.

Photo by Kay Turner, Austin, TX 1979
Soledad "Chole" Pescina at home with her personal altar.

We are very pleased to present a talk on women's altars by Kay Turner, author of Beautiful Necessity: The Art and Meaning of Women’s Altars.

Kay Turner is an artist working across disciplines, including writing, music, performance, and folklore. She holds a PhD in folklore and anthropology from the University of Texas at Austin. Her areas of specialization are women's performed folklore (especially in the arenas of fairy tale and folk tale, folk religion, and material culture) and feminist and queer interpretations of folklore and popular culture. She is Adjunct Visiting Professor in the Performance Studies Department at New York University, where, since 2000, she has taught courses on gender, fairy tale performance, ghosts as performers, and performed story and narrative theory.

Among her books are Beautiful Necessity: The Art and Meaning of Women’s Altars (Thames and Hudson), an extended treatment of her dissertation on Texas-Mexican women’s home altars in south Texas and her most recent book (with Pauline Greenhill) Transgressive Tales: Queering the Grimms (Wayne State University Press, 2012).  

Turner is at work on a new book, What a Witch, a radical reinterpretation of the witch figure in folklore and performance. Accompanying this writing project is a series of her participatory, durational performances, including “The Black Kiss,” “What a Witch,” and “The Witch Salon,” each differently exploring the ontology of the witch figure. Her next “What a Witch” performance is a collaboration with Kate Conroy on May 12, 2016 at Soho20 Gallery on Bogart St, right around the corner from Catland! Turner also has written songs and performed as lead singer in numerous bands, most notably the lesbian feminist punk rock group "Girls in the Nose"(1985-1996), which is currently doing a series of 30th anniversary reunion shows, most recently in Portland and Eugene, OR and coming to NYC in June 2016.  

In 2014 Turner retired from the Brooklyn Arts Council (BAC), where she was the Folk Arts Director for 14 years, researching and presenting the diverse folk arts and artists of Brooklyn. Among her highly regarded projects developed at BAC were “Black Brooklyn Renaissance, 1960-2010,” “Brooklyn Maqam Arab Music Festival,” and “Folk Feet: Celebrating Traditional Dance in Brooklyn.” Turner is the incoming President of the American Folklore Society (2015-2018).

$15 admission