Gary Indiana

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Gary Indiana
Born Gary Hoisington
1950 (age 67–68)
Derry, New Hampshire, U.S.
Occupation Writer, filmmaker, photographer
Nationality American

Gary Indiana (born 1950 as Gary Hoisington in Derry, New Hampshire[1]) is an American writer, filmmaker and visual artist.


Indiana has written, directed and acted in a dozen plays, mostly during the early 1980s. His theatrical collaborators drew from a distinctly avant-garde group of actors, artists, composers and writers, including Geoffrey Carey, George-Therese Dickenson, Allen Frame, Evan Lurie, Larry Mitchell, Cookie Mueller, Alice Neel, Sharon Niesp, Victoria Pedersen, Bill Rice, co-founder of BOMB magazine Betsy Sussler and Warhol superstars Viva, Taylor Mead and Jackie Curtis. Indiana has said he wanted to call this troupe the "Theater of the Obvious" but that Bill Rice had preferred "Garbage After Dinner". No name was officially adopted.[2][3]

Performed in small New York City venues like Mudd Club, Club 57, the Performing Garage and the backyard of Bill Rice's East 3rd Street studio, the earlier plays included Alligator Girls Go to College (1979); Curse of the Dog People (1980); A Coupla White Faggots Sitting Around Talking (1980), which was filmed by Michel Auder in 1981; The Roman Polanski Story (1981); Phantoms of Louisiana (1981) and Roy Cohn/Jack Smith (1992), written with Jack Smith for performance artist Ron Vawter.[4][5][6] The latter was filmed in 1994 by Jill Godmilow.[7]

A more recent play, Mrs. Watson's Missing Parts, was staged in May 2013 at Participant Inc. It drastically alters a 1922 Grand Guignol theatrical adaptation of Octave Mirbeau's novel The Torture Garden by replacing all dialogue with an "almost incomprehensible" obscenity-laden libidinal glossolalia.[8][9]


Indiana has acted in several mostly experimental films by, among others, Michel Auder (Seduction of Patrick ,1979, which he co-wrote with the director), Scott B and Beth B (The Trap Door, 1980), Melvie Arslanian (Stiletto, 1981, where he plays a bellhop at the bellhopless Chelsea Hotel), Jackie Raynal (Hotel New York, 1984), Ulrike Ottinger (Dorian Gray im Spiegel der Boulevardpresse, 1984, with Veruschka as Dorian Gray and Delphine Seyrig as Doctor Mabuse), Lothar Lambert (Fräulein Berlin, 1984), Dieter Schidor (Cold in Columbia, 1985), Valie Export (The Practice of Love, 1985) and Christoph Schlingensief (Terror 2000: Intensivstation Deutschland, 1994, in which Udo Kier kills his character with a machine gun).[10][11] John Boskovich’s 2001 film North features Indiana reading from the Céline novel of the same name.[12]

Indiana's novel Gone Tomorrow reflects his experiences on set, particularly his time working on Cold in Columbia.[13]


Only relatively recently have Indiana's fields of endeavor, as precised in the media, come to include visual art. Discussing Indiana's "public entry as a visual artist" and in particular his "unexpected" inclusion in a major national exhibition, arts writer and editor M.H. Miller wrote in the New York Observer: "He was only an art critic for less than three years [...], but his reputation as a toxic downtown savant became so entrenched that people in 2014 still expect that Mr. Indiana will offer a strenuous denouncement of the Whitney Biennial in print, rather than serve as an artist in the show."[14]

Extinction, Indiana's first solo exhibition, was held in 2002 at the now defunct American Fine Arts Co. The film Gristle Springs followed a decade later at Participant Inc.[15]

A 2015 retrospective, From the World of Entertainment at envoy enterprises, presented examples of Indiana's work spanning four decades.[16][17]

Indiana's video Stanley Park (2013) was included in the 2014 Whitney Biennial. Combining footage of a former Cuban prison, the Panopticon-like Presidio Modelo, jellyfish and cuts from the films A Touch of Evil and The Shanghai Gesture, the work connects the consequences of global environmental degradation with increasingly repressive governmental practices. Used as a metaphor for state surveillance, the jellyfish was described by Indiana as “an organism with no brain and a thousand poisonous tentacles collecting what you could call data.” Photographs of young Cuban men appeared next to the video.[18][19]

Semiotext(e) published 22 pamphlets for the biennale, including Indiana's A Significant Loss of Human Life, which extends the video's themes by juxtaposing the artist's experiences of Cuba as it is slowly being drawn into the global economy with commentary on the ideas of Karl Marx.[20]

In addition to Stanley Park, publicly screened video art by Indiana includes Soap (2004–2012), inspired by the Francis Ponge poem; Plutot la vie (2005), concerning the Society of the Spectacle and mass hypnosis; Unfinished Story (2004–2005), which records readings by and conversations between Indiana and photographer Lynn Davis; and Young Ginger (2014).[16]




Critical studies and essays on Indiana's work[edit]


  1. ^ Kaczorowski, Craig. "Indiana, Gary (b. 1950)". Archived from the original on October 15, 2012. Retrieved December 29, 2012. 
  2. ^ Indiana, Gary (December 6, 2004). "One Brief, Scuzzy Moment". New York Magazine. Retrieved 2018-05-14. 
  3. ^ Lyshak-Stelzer, Francie (May 3, 1992). "Gary Indiana". The Bar Project: Voices from an Artists' Community. Retrieved 2018-05-14. 
  4. ^ Maxwell, Justin (Fall 2011). "Review: Last Seen Entering the Biltmore: Plays, Short Fiction, Poems 1975–2010". Rain Taxi. Retrieved 2018-05-14. 
  5. ^ Holden, Stephen (May 3, 1992). "Two Strangers Meet Through an Actor". The New York Times. Retrieved 2018-05-14. 
  6. ^ Jeppesen, Travis (April 25, 2011). "New York Dolls". 3:AM Magazine. Retrieved 2018-05-14. 
  7. ^ Holden, Stephen (August 4, 1995). "2 Extremes of Gay Life". The New York Times. Retrieved 2018-05-14. 
  8. ^ Barron, Michael (April 2016). "Interview with Gary Indiana". The White Review. Retrieved 2018-05-17. 
  9. ^ "Reading: Mrs. Watson's Missing Parts". ART HAPS. May 12, 2013. Retrieved 2018-05-17. 
  10. ^ "Irma Vep Interviews Gary Indiana". Uncanca. Retrieved 2018-05-17. 
  11. ^ "Stiletto (1981)". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved 2018-05-17. 
  12. ^ "North (2001), Dir. John Boskovich, Starring Gary Indiana". The Renaissance Society. Retrieved 2018-05-14. 
  13. ^ Kaczorowski, Craig. "Indiana, Gary (b. 1950)". Archived from the original on October 15, 2012. Retrieved 2018-05-14. 
  14. ^ Miller, M.H. (April 22, 2014). "Sleep When I'm Dead: Gary Indiana Might Be Out of Print, But He's Still Going Strong". The New York Observer. Retrieved 2018-05-15. 
  15. ^ Pollack, Barbara (May 21, 2013). "Gary Indiana, Gristle Springs". Time Out. Retrieved 2018-05-18. 
  16. ^ a b "It's Gary Indiana's Town". Artsy. April 10, 2015. Retrieved 2018-05-17. 
  17. ^ Cowan, Sarah (March 24, 2015). "Too Complicated for Human Brains". The Paris Review. Retrieved 2018-05-18. 
  18. ^ "Gary Indiana: Stanley Park". Whitney Museum of American Art. Retrieved 2018-05-15. 
  19. ^ Miller, M.H. (April 22, 2014). "Sleep When I'm Dead: Gary Indiana Might Be Out of Print, But He's Still Going Strong". The New York Observer. Retrieved 2018-05-15. 
  20. ^ Indiana, Gary (April 2014). "The Terrace". Harper's Magazine. Retrieved 2018-05-15. 

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