Photography alumna Anya Liftig's (M.F.A. '04) path to art and performance work was unconventional, one influenced by her two disparate familial backgrounds: upper class Connecticut and an impoverished community of Appalachia. Her interest in performance art blossomed from a foundation in the New York dance scene, which led her to a scholarship at Yale for theater and studio art, before she finished graduate-level education at Georgia State.
Often considered provocative, she uses her performances to explore the "contradictions and unanswered questions of her life.” She credits Welch faculty Constance Thalken (emerita), Nancy Floyd (emerita), Craig Dongoski, Pam Longobardi and many others with her artistic formation. While in the program, Lifting was able to experiment within an interdisciplinary environment. Her practice transitioned from still photography to live performance art and her thesis work, "self-evidence, " at Georgia State was her first live, fine-art performance. Since graduation, her work has been exhibited and performed internationally from venues in New York (Tate Modern and MOMA) to Berlin, London, and Toronto. Liftig’s work has been published and written about in the New York Times, BOMB, Wall Street Journal, Vogue Italia, Public Culture, New York, PAJ, Critical Correspondence, Theater Magazine, Art Papers, Hyperallergic, and many others.
Most notably, Liftig recently published a memoir about her complicated home life and path to performance art titled Hollar Rat (Abrams Publishing in August 2023). She has spent most of her year on press tours, taking interviews, and talking about her work. From her publisher’s website:
In Holler Rat, Liftig masterfully interweaves family lore from her Appalachian childhood with her performance art pieces and scenes of the yearlong period in which her life fell apart, and plumbs the cathartic self-reckoning that followed. She takes us from her Mamaw’s porch to Yale; from the site of a violent family land feud to a pre-gentrified Bushwick loft; and from a devastating childhood leg injury to having 243 raw eggs pelted at her in the name of art. In visceral, beautiful prose that ranges from raunchy and outrageous to sobering and tragic, Holler Rat is the origin story of an unconventional artistic life and a captivating account of the stumbling blocks, sacrifices, and discoveries along the way.
The Ernest G. Welch School of Art & Design will host Anya Liftig on November 13 for an on-campus artist talk as a part of her 2023 book tour. For more about her performance art, visit her website portfolio for more information about her memoir and where to purchase, visit: