A Feminist Strip Club Will Pop Up at the Shore Club During Art Basel

UPDATE December 2, 5:36 p.m.: Goddessphere has been canceled by the city of Miami Beach due to lack of permit. Read our story here.

There's always one work on display that defines each year's Miami Art Week. In 2011, it was performance artist Miru Kim living in a literal pigsty at Primary Projects. In 2014, it was Spinello Projects' woman-centric exhibit "Auto Body."

This year, the work on everyone's mind might just be a pop-up strip club in a swanky South Beach hotel.

Goddessphere, a collaborative work led by California artists Marina Fini, Emily Meehan, and Sarah Weiss, will transform the penthouse at the Shore Club into a sexy lounge, complete with poles for dancing and a "champagne room." But there's one big difference between Goddessphere and the dozens of other strip clubs sprinkled across the city: This one is not for men.

"It's a feminist strip club, so it's by women for everybody instead of being by men for men," Fini explains. "It's a feminist art statement, partly political activism, and also showcasing amazing female-identifying performers."
Goddessphere, a conceptual sequel to Fini's Motelscape installation during last year's Art Basel, promises all the neon and glitter of your average strip club. But the performers, Fini says, will represent a more diverse range of ages, races, genders, and body types than you'll find at Scarlett's. Scheduled performers include electronic musician Fee Lion, burlesque performer Coco Ono, Miami bass duo Basside, and Dorian Electra, a filmmaker and performance artist known for, among other things, a viral music video dedicated to the clitoris.
"We're expanding the idea of what is femme, what is female, what is attractive," Meehan says. "It's pushing the boundaries of what is seen as glorified [for] the woman. We want every woman, every body, every age. We're trying to defy everything, as a woman, that is depressed or shamed."

The artists say the club will function similarly to a traditional strip club where money is concerned. Visitors will pay a small cover (the exact amount had not been worked out at press time) and will be encouraged to tip the performers. Access to the champagne room, a new edition of Weiss' recurring series of installations, Minimalist Bedroom, will cost $5 and include two glasses of champagne. A news release for the project emphasizes the champagne room is for "time and companionship only."

UPDATE December 2, 7:17 p.m.: In light of the code violations brought against them, the artists have changed their approach. "Since this is an art installation, no money will be exchanged at all. It is a private event for our private guests to enjoy viewing performance art and visual art," they said in a statement.

"It's a safe space," Fini says. "The strip club experience that I've had feels very dirty and not safe. We're trying to create a safe space for women and queer and female-identifying people."
Everything in Goddessphere, from Fini's plexiglaxs decor to the clothing on the performers, designed by Meehan, was designed by and for women. It's that focus — on the creating a pleasurable experience for women rather than using them for the pleasure of men — that distinguishes Goddessphere from the average strip joint, the artists say.

"It's almost a temple of worship to the femme energy that's often... oversexualized by men," Meehan says. "We're trying to empower it, to be like, 'Hey, we can be sexual, we can be attractive, but this is in our control.'"

10 p.m. to 5 a.m. Friday, December 2, through Sunday, December 4, in the penthouse at the Shore Club, 1901 Collins Ave., Miami Beach.
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Ciara LaVelle is New Times' former arts and culture editor. She earned her BS in journalism at Boston University and moved to Florida in 2004. She joined New Times' staff in 2011.
Contact: Ciara LaVelle

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