Tim Miller (performance artist)

Last updated

Tim Miller
Born (1958-09-22) September 22, 1958 (age 64)
Occupation(s)Performer, writer, performance teacher
Known forPerformance art
SpouseAlistair McCartney
Website www.timmillerperformer.com

Tim Miller (born September 22, 1958, in Pasadena, California) is an American performance artist and writer, whose pieces frequently involve gay identity, marriage equality and immigration issues. He was one of the NEA Four, four performance artists whose National Endowment for the Arts grants were vetoed in 1990 by NEA chair John Frohnmayer. [1]


Life and career

Miller was born in Pasadena, California but grew up in nearby Whittier.

He has developed shows based on his personal life as a gay man and as an activist. A member of ACT UP and other campaigning organizations, Miller has participated in numerous demonstrations to call for funding of AIDS research and treatment and to promote equal rights. His civil disobedience has led to his arrest on several occasions. [2]

I was seventeen going on eighteen and I was desperate for love and dick. I searched everywhere for it. I hung around the Whittier Public Library, leaning suggestively against the stacks in the psychology section, waiting to be picked up by some graduate student. I leaned too far, once, and almost knocked over an entire row of bookshelves.

Tim Miller, Boys like us (1996) [3]

Miller's interest in performance began in high school, where he took classes in theater and dance. He played the lead role of John Proctor in Lowell High School's production of The Crucible by Arthur Miller. At nineteen he moved to New York and studied dance with Merce Cunningham.

In 1980 Miller joined with Charles Moulton, Peter Rose and Charles Dennis to found P.S. 122, a space for performance art. The name derives from the former school building that houses the project. In 1987 Miller returned to California and with Linda Frye Burnham founded another performance space, Highways, in Santa Monica.

In 1993 Miller was featured in the episode of The Larry Sanders Show called The Performance Artist. He played himself as the titular performance artist, who appears as a guest both on Larry Sanders' show and on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno performing a portion of My Queer Body.

In 1997 Miller published Shirts & Skin, a compilation of personal stories that he had told in his shows over the previous decade. He also launched a show of the same name.

Miller took on a new topic, immigration rights for gay and lesbian partners of American citizens, in Glory Box (1999). The immigration issue is a personal cause as Alistair McCartney, his partner since 1994, is Australian.

In 2002 Miller published Body Blows, a collection of scripts from six of his shows with associated essays.

Miller returned to the theme of the problems of Americans with same-sex life partners in Us in 2003. The title refers both to his relationship with McCartney and to the laws in the United States which could prevent them from being together. [4]


1981Live Boys, created with John Bernd
1983Cost of Living
1984Democracy in America
1985Buddy Systems", created with Doug Sadownick
1987Some Golden States"
1989Stretch Marks
1992My Queer Body
1994Naked Breath
1996Fruit Cocktail
1997Shirts & Skin
1999Glory Box
2002Body Blows
20061001 Beds [5]
2009Lay of the Land

Related Research Articles

<i>Queer as Folk</i> (American TV series) American television series

Queer as Folk is a serial drama television series that ran from December 3, 2000, to August 7, 2005. The series was produced for Showtime by Cowlip Productions, Tony Jonas Productions, Temple Street Productions, and Showtime Networks, in association with Crowe Entertainment. It was developed and written by Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman, who were the showrunners and also the executive producers along with Tony Jonas, former president of Warner Bros. Television.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Michelangelo Signorile</span> American journalist, author, and talk radio host

Michelangelo Signorile is an American journalist, author and talk radio host. His radio program is aired each weekday across the United States and Canada on Sirius XM Radio and globally online. Signorile was editor-at-large for HuffPost from 2011 until 2019. Signorile is a political liberal, and covers a wide variety of political and cultural issues.

Ron Athey is an American performance artist associated with body art and with extreme performance art. He has performed in the U.S. and internationally. Athey's work explores challenging subjects like the relationships between desire, sexuality and traumatic experience. Many of his works include aspects of S&M in order to confront preconceived ideas about the body in relation to masculinity and religious iconography.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Gay men</span> Men attracted to other men

Gay men are male homosexuals. Some bisexual and homoromantic men may also dually identify as gay, and a number of young gay men also identify as queer. Historically, gay men have been referred to by a number of different terms, including inverts and uranians.

John Fleck is an American actor and performance artist. He has performed in numerous TV shows, including Babylon 5, Carnivàle, Murder One, and the Star Trek franchise. He also appeared in Howard The Duck, Waterworld and the music video for the ZZ Top song "Legs". He made a minor appearance in the Seinfeld episode "The Heart Attack". He played a minor character during the sixth season of Weeds. He wrote and performed "Mad Women" at La MaMa E.T.C.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">The ArQuives</span> Canadian organization that preserves historical LGBT materials

The ArQuives: Canada's LGBTQ2+ Archives, formerly known as the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives, is a Canadian non-profit organization, founded in 1973 as the Canadian Gay Liberation Movement Archives. The ArQuives acquires, preserves, and provides public access to material and information by and about lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and two-spirit communities primarily in Canada.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Leonard Matlovich</span> US Airman and LGBT rights activist (1943–1988)

Technical Sergeant Leonard Phillip Matlovich was an American Vietnam War veteran, race relations instructor, and recipient of the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star. He was the first gay service member to purposely out himself to the military to fight their ban on gays, and perhaps the best-known openly gay man in the United States of America in the 1970s next to Harvey Milk. His fight to stay in the United States Air Force after coming out of the closet became a cause célèbre around which the gay community rallied. His case resulted in articles in newspapers and magazines throughout the country, numerous television interviews, and a television movie on NBC. His photograph appeared on the cover of the September 8, 1975, issue of Time magazine, making him a symbol for thousands of gay and lesbian servicemembers and gay people generally. Matlovich was the first named openly gay person to appear on the cover of a U.S. newsmagazine. According to author Randy Shilts, "It marked the first time the young gay movement had made the cover of a major newsweekly. To a movement still struggling for legitimacy, the event was a major turning point."

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Essex Hemphill</span> American writer

Essex Hemphill was an openly gay American poet and activist. He is known for his contributions to the Washington, D.C. art scene in the 1980s, and for openly discussing the topics pertinent to the African-American gay community.

A gay icon is a public figure who is regarded as a cultural icon by members of the LGBT community. Said figures usually have a devoted LGBT fanbase and have acted as allies to the LGBT community, often through their work. Alternatively, if they have not acted as allies, they have been "openly appreciative of their gay fanbase". Many gay icons also have a camp aesthetic style, which has been described as part of their appeal to LGBT individuals.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Richard Fung</span>

Richard Fung is a video artist, writer, public intellectual and theorist who currently lives and works in Toronto, Ontario. He was born in Port of Spain, Trinidad and is openly gay.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">James Adomian</span> American comedian and actor

James Adomian is an American stand-up comedian, actor, and impressionist. He is best known for his work on Comedy Bang! Bang!, Chapo Trap House, Last Comic Standing, The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson where he impersonated President George W. Bush until 2009, and for portraying Bernie Sanders during the 2016 Trump vs. Bernie tour. He voices Talking Ben in the Talking Tom and Friends animated series.

Historically, the portrayal of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people in media have been negative, reflecting the cultural intolerance of LGBT individuals; however, from the 1990s to present day, there has been an increase in the depictions of LGBT people, issues, and concerns within mainstream media in North America. The LGBT communities have taken an increasingly proactive stand in defining their own culture, with a primary goal of achieving an affirmative visibility in mainstream media. The positive portrayal or increased presence of the LGBT communities in media has served to increase acceptance and support for LGBT communities, establish LGBT communities as a norm, and provide information on the topic.

JD Doyle is an American LGBT music and history archivist/historian and radio producer. He is a staff member of the weekly radio show Queer Voices and produces the monthly radio shows Queer Music Heritage and OutRadio. He now lives in Houston, Texas.

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer+(LGBTQ+)music is music that focuses on the experiences of gender and sexual minorities as a product of the broad gay liberation movement.

David McDiarmid (1952–1995) was an artist, designer and political activist, recognised for his prominent and sustained artistic engagement in issues relating to gay male identity and HIV/AIDS. He is also known for his involvement in the gay liberation movement of the early 1970s, when he was the first person arrested at a gay rights protest in Australia, as well as his artistic direction of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. From its inception, McDiarmid's art career encompassed, as both subject and inspiration, gay male sexuality, politics and urban subcultures. His creative techniques included: collage, painting, drawing, calligraphy, mosaic, installation, various forms of print-making, sculpture and artist's books. He was a graphic designer, designer and fabric painter for women's and men's fashion, and an artist and creative director for the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras street parades.

This is a timeline of notable events in the history of non-heterosexual conforming people of Asian and Pacific Islander ancestry, who may identify as LGBTIQGNC, men who have sex with men, or related culturally-specific identities. This timeline includes events both in Asia and the Pacific Islands and in the global Asian and Pacific Islander diaspora, as the histories are very deeply linked. Please note: this is a very incomplete timeline, notably lacking LGBTQ-specific items from the 1800s to 1970s, and should n0t be used as a research resource until additional material is added.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Highways Performance Space</span>

The Highways Performance Space is a performance venue in Santa Monica, California, which focuses on new works and alternative pieces. The organization is a space for LGBTQ artists to experiment with form and content. Performed work includes theatre, music, dance, spoken word, interactive media, and visual arts.

Queer art, also known as LGBT+ art or queer aesthetics, broadly refers to modern and contemporary visual art practices that draw on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender+ imagery and issues. While by definition there can be no singular "queer art", contemporary artists who identify their practices as queer often call upon "utopian and dystopian alternatives to the ordinary, adopt outlaw stances, embrace criminality and opacity, and forge unprecedented kinships and relationships." Queer art is also occasionally very much about sex and the embracing of unauthorised desires.

William Yang is an acclaimed social history photographer, playwright, artist and filmmaker living in Australia. Born in Dimbulah, North Queensland he is a third generation Chinese Australian. Yang's photography and performances span over 50 years and document the uncharted growth and influence of Sydney's gay subculture from the 1970s through to the HIV/AIDS epidemic of the 1980s and 1990s and beyond. Through the media of photography and performance Yang also explores his own ethnicity as a Chinese Australian and the intersection of his ethnic background and sexuality.


  1. Noriega, Jimmy A. and Jordan Schildcrout (2022). "The NEA Four". 50 Key Figures in Queer US Theatre. Routledge. pp. 179–183.
  2. Gott, 1994 p.150
  3. Merla, 1996
  4. Through Thick and Thin, Sebastian Cordoba, 2007, a documentary on US immigration laws for same-sex couples which features Miller and McCartney as one of the seven couples.
  5. Burston, Paul (June 4, 2007). "Queer performance artist Tim Miller talks bed-hopping and whimsy with Time Out". Time Out. Retrieved February 7, 2008.