"America the Beautiful," 2013
A living legend and pioneer of radical expressions, Martha Wilson founded the seminal New York City performance space Franklin Furnace in 1976. A faculty member of the adventurous Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in the early '70s, Wilson says it was the work of fellow instructor Vito Acconci that introduced her to the possibilities of incorporating sexuality and the body into conceptual art forms. Never one to settle for any singular or set mode of creativity, Wilson's group DISBAND (together from 1978-1982) remains one of the most art-damaged bands to ever assault New York City while her public impersonations of Barbara Bush continue to startle with their uncanny verisimilitude. Her latest work as a visual artist, shown above, is part of a summer show she is co-curating at PPOW Gallery in Chelsea, and goes to show how far she has taken the early promise of Body Art to explore the political relationship of our bodies to society as a whole.