Genesis P-Orridge

(b. 1950)

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(1950– )

British Performance artist, rock musician, and editor, born Neil Andrew Megson in Manchester (he adopted his pseudonym in 1971). He gave his first performance in 1967 and in 1969 founded the group COUM Transmissions, which typically used sexual and violent imagery as a protest against industrial society. In 1975, as a means of reaching a wider audience, he founded the rock group Throbbing Gristle, which featured his companion Cosey Fanni Tutti on guitar. Their recordings included ‘Death Threats’ (compiled from hostile messages left on their answering machine), ‘Slug Bait’, and ‘Zyklon B Zombie’, and they were denounced by The Daily Mail as ‘wreckers of civilization’. In similar vein, COUM caused a scandal in 1976 with the exhibition ‘Prostitution’ at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, ‘consisting of documentation from Cosey's activities as a model for a pornographic magazine…the press was outraged, accusing the Arts Council (who partially sponsor the ICA) of wasting public money. Subsequently COUM were unofficially banned from exhibiting in galleries in England’ (RoseLee Goldberg, Performance Art, 1988). Showing a different side to his talents, P-Orridge was co-editor of Contemporary Artists (1977), a vast compendium of information ‘on 1350 artists of international reputation [P-Orridge included], selected by an international advisory board’.

Subjects: Art.

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