Performance Art

For over 30 years, Shelly Mars has worked as solo performance artist across the United States and worldwide. Her work examines issues of sex and gender and their boundaries. In the tradition of solo performers from Ruth Draper to Eric Bogosian, John Leguizamo to Anna Deavere Smith, her one-person shows are based on the in-depth development of characters like Martin, my over-sexed ultra-misogynistic male alter-ego, and Susan Powell, a cold, brittle alcoholic.

Her shows include Bug Chasers (2004), about gay men who have unprotected sex in hopes of contracting AIDS, Sex on Mars (2001), Whiplash: Tales of a Tomboy (1999) and Invasion from Mars (1997). She has performed at New York's PS 122, New York Theatre Workshop, The Kitchen and Dixon Place, and at national venues including Highways in Los Angeles. In 2000, Sex on Mars enjoyed a five month run at various venues in Provincetown, MA. Shelly was described by Amy Taubin of The Village Voice as "an after-hours Lily Tomlin" and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Michael Cunnigham said, "For me there is Sappho, Gertrude Stein and Shelly Mars." 

Mistress S — Bay Brick Inn, San Francisco, 1981

Mistress S — Bay Brick Inn, San Francisco, 1981

Mistress S — Sutro Bath House, 1980

Mistress S — Sutro Bath House, 1980

Life on Mars — PS122, NYC, 1999

Life on Mars — PS122, NYC, 1999

In the Mirror — Dixon Place, NYC, 1992

In the Mirror — Dixon Place, NYC, 1992