Christine Finley – Interventions

ABOUT Christine

Christine Finley is a stylistically promiscuous artist who lives and works in both Rome and New York City. Her work incorporates interests in color theory, performance, women’s work, and the environment. Previous projects include the 2014 Whitney Houston Biennial: I’m Every Woman, and Wallpapered Dumpsters which has been featured in the New York Times, La Repubblica, the Huffington Post, NYLON Magazine, Dazed, and the BBC World Service. As the recipient of the Eszter Cohen Grant, Finley continues to wallpaper trash receptacles in cities throughout the world. Finley received her BFA from the Pratt Institute, New York and her MFA from California State University, Long Beach.

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Hi Christine! Where are you now? Rome or New York?

NYC baby

Probably your most known project worldwide is “Wallpapered Dumpster Project”. When did you start it and why?

I worked in the film industry as a set decorator and scenic painter. I collected wallpaper from various shoots. I was trying to figure out how to use this material when I was asked to participate in an installation at the port of Los Angeles. I worked in a forty-foot container for an entire week. The quantity of goods imported through the port of L.A. is astounding. The containers were all earth-toned so I wanted to disrupt this mono-tonality by wallpapering one with a baroque pattern. Then a few weeks later a friend let me wallpaper his studio dumpster, that was in 2005.

How many cities’ dumpsters did you beautify so far?


Do you see this project evolving into something different?

Yes, I am turning the dumpsters into collection points for school supplies and clothing.

You are a very eclectic artist, What is the common thread between your painting, curatorial activities and urban interventions?

Joy and spirit, I am obsessed with making this moment inspiring and beautiful.

“Being neighbors with Bernini, Michelangelo, Caravaggio, among others, I feel challenged to create meaningful, great work.”

SLV_CFINLEY_Portrait by Austin Young
Portrait by Austin Young

“It’s about getting other people to think about how they can participate in beautifying their landscape”

How did you end up in Rome?

I was supposed to be in Rome for four days and ended up staying 6 years and counting. I met the brilliant artist Attilio Vaccari while I was there visiting. Attilio saw my work and believed in me enough to offer me a residency with the Gai Mattiolo fashion house.

How did the experience of living in the eternal city influence you as an artist?

Being neighbors with Bernini, Michelangelo, Caravaggio, among others, I feel challenged to create meaningful, great work. And the language barrier helps to keep me from being distracted by the world outside of my studio practice.

If you could meet any artist in the world, living or not, who would you choose?

Michaelangelo, I would ask him for a Ganymede drawing.

SLV_CFINLEY_Whitney Houston Biennial evite
Whitney Houston Biennial evite

You were the curator of 2014 Whitney Houston Biennial that took place in Dumbo last March. How did the idea of the event come?

The idea began with a joke. I imagined that if I was tapped as the curator of the Whitney, I would show three floors of women artists. When I told this to my friend, the artist Eddy Segal she immediately blurted out, ‘The Whitney Houston Biennial!’ I laughed — hard — but couldn’t quite shake the idea. I was inspired by Phong Bui’s “Surviving Sandy” show, Antony Hegarty’s handwritten future-feminist manifesto and, naturally, Whitney Houston’s live performance of “One Moment in Time” from the 1989 Grammy Awards, I designed the exhibition to showcase a wide swath of work from female artists. I created a dream list of more than 80 women whose art I admired, paying special attention to include a cross-section of mediums.

What’s next for you?

Painting in the studio and launching a new project in March called “While You Were Fucking Off”

Studio in Brooklyn

A photo posted by Finley (@seefinley) on


“Joy and spirit, I am obsessed with making this moment inspiring and beautiful.”