Amanda 'Fu*king' Palmer is Back with Art Show and New Studio Album
After a private art show and concert for close friends and supporters Thursday night, Amanda Palmer (who rose to fame with The Dresden Dolls) passed around plates of paint and brushes, stripped down to the buff and let fans rush the barely 10-foot-wide stage to paint her naked body.
Amanda “Fucking” Palmer is back, and she’s busy. Her fans have been, too.
The independent singer-songwriter has always had a theatrical flair, and since leaving her record label four years ago, Palmer has only upped the ante.
Palmer hit up Los Angeles last week for a concert at The Roxy Theatre as well as a private art show and performance at the Pop tART Gallery to thank donors for backing her new studio album, which drops in September. About 90 people came out to the private concert, where the ever-engaging performer put on a theatrical show that was as much her performance as it was the audience’s.
Lit by flashlights in the hands of audience members, Palmer performed a haunting set inches from the crowd as she wielded a knife and honing steel for “The Killing Type” and unfolded a bedsheet at the audience’s feet for “The Bed Song.”
The show was one of six in a summer tour through six U.S. and European cities with The Grand Theft Orchestra, a new string quartet. The tour also features an art exhibit of mixed media works inspired by the album and Palmer herself. Thirty visual artists contributed to the project, including Shepard Fairey, David Mack, Molly Crabapple, Tao Lin, Robyn Hitchcock, Kristin Hersh and DJ Spooky.
“As soon as I decided to go epic with this album and invite almost every artist I'd ever worked with to create something, it only made sense to hang all the finished work somewhere we could all gaze at in in person,” Palmer said in an emailed statement. “We've now thrown 5 out of the 6 art parties and every one of them has been a totally unique, magical night. It worked.”
To fund the release of her album worldwide, she launched a month-long Kickstarter campaign in late April to try to raise $100,000. She met and surpassed her goal – seven hours later.
In total, the campaign raised $1.2 million, smashing the previous record of $200,000 for the highest-funded music project in the website’s four-year history. It’s also only the seventh campaign to break $1 million. (Palmer’s last Kickstarter campaign – to record a sold-out tour with author and husband Neil Gaiman – raised $133,000 total.)
The money will fund a two-year explosion of creative work including videos, remixes, art exhibits and 18 months of touring.
“I grew up surrounded by a smorgasbord of visual imagery that housed and danced with the music I loved. From The Beatles’ illustrated songbook to the ocean of weird LP artwork to the early videos of MTV, I grew up assuming that music was essentially visual as well as audible,” Palmer said in an emailed statement.
“I've got more friends that are painters than friends who are musicians, and I'm always looking for ways to connect with and collaborate with them. For me, this is the fun part … midwife-ing the visual world of the record. It's thrilling to see what the music and songs inspires in the artists and then to see the response it provokes in the fans in one giant art-feedback-loop.”
Palmer is headed to Boston next for a few shows in early August. Her art exhibit will be open to the public Aug. 2-4 at The Middle East Restaurant and Nightclub in Cambridge.
Photos by Camille Beredjick
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