Kembra Pfahler


That's me in the foreground, lead singer for the Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black. I only have one wig on and was shy about being only quasi-ready. I always question my uncomfortability with imperfection or not-done-ness and, and so, in the spirit of experimentation, I said "Okay, what the hey." The other girls are also midway through their Karen Black look, which takes about four to five hours to accomplish pristinely. We are in the conference room of the Marriott hotel in South Beach, Miami, preparing for a live show that would take place at The Raleigh hotel that Jeffrey Deitch invited us to do. Jeffrey encouraged me to have as many Karen Black girls as possible and organized M.A.C to send over a small army of makeup artists to help. He also hired a school bus to take us to the show.

I love doing concerts and making artwork. It's like living in a perpetual happy fungus, dying and living in an anti-naturalist garden. Being invited to participate in the Whitney Biennial has been really cool too. I was thinking I'd do something revisionist and American, only with the girls of Karen Black as historical figures. Like one girl of Karen Black as Betsy Ross sewing the American flag—but she'd be sewing the bat boob flag we use as our band symbol instead. I'll put on a live concert too—something classic—meat-and-potatoes rock-and-roll. I don't think of myself as having a career. I just think I am having a life. And as a pre-Christian vanilla existentialist, I have found myself in the creative fields because that's the most fun. I used to think I connected with the occult philosophies but that seems not modern enough now. I want to propose a new vocabulary of images with the Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black, invent something, maybe fins and chic underwater breathing devices.