Kimberly Butler is best known for her groundbreaking celebrity photography and thought-provoking exhibits. Now she’s addressing the opioid epidemic, which has escalated dramatically since the COVID-19 lockdowns, with her latest series Alice In Opioidland.
From 2014-2019, over 235,000 Americans have died from opioid-involved overdoses*. Experts fear that 2020 will fare even worse during the COVID-19 pandemic and some have already seen spikes in numbers. It’s against this backdrop that Kimberly Butler sprang into action and started working on her masterpiece, Alice In Opioidland.
When Kimberly Butler learned of fellow artists protesting at galleries and museums last year, her interest was peaked. She then learned that some of the wealthy families who were putting installations in renowned institutions were also owners of pharmaceutical companies that produce some of the deadliest opioids in American society. Artists en masse wanted these family names taken off of art installations since they were also responsible for hundreds of thousands of American deaths.
Kimberly felt that a famous Lewis Carroll tale with the underlying use of drugs would be the perfect platform to tell the story of a girl’s tumble down the rabbit hole of opioids. Mix in famous friends like Bill Pullman, notably portraying the White Rabbit, and radio personality & actress Cooper Lawrence playing the Red Queen, and a mass audience can access the message.
Kimberly is no stranger to controversial topics in her art. Her last grand project, Censored, used naked human bodies as canvases for quotes from banned books. The inspiration came after the death of Ray Bradbury, author of Fahrenheit 451. He told the story of a futuristic fireman who’s job it was to burn books. This led Kimberly on a journey of learning the stories of notable banned books, reading as many as she could, and bringing attention to censorship.
When you ask people about Kimberly’s work, most of them will rattle off the names of actors, Presidents, and entertainers she’s captured through her years at People Magazine, TIME LIFE, ABC, and Radio City. Nowadays she’s busy publishing books like her 2019 standout, The Art Of Fear, and bringing attention to tough subjects like the opioid crisis, childhood trauma, and censorship through speaking engagements.
Kimberly is at heart an authentic New Yorker. Even after decades in The Big Apple she enjoys walking around the city and falling in love with it all over again. Enjoy some of her favorite spots as you find yourself wandering around the five boroughs and contact her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Best New York Restaurant: Keens Steakhouse on West 36th St. Museum setting where famous New Yorkers get pipes named after them. Favorite mashed potatoes anywhere.
Best New York Coffee: Trader Joe’s cold brew. Organic, delicious, affordable, and the friendliest service in New York.
Best New York Beach: The Rockaways in Queens. Since she has family there she’s slightly biased but the beautiful beaches, fun waves, and close-knit community make it a very special place.
*Opioid statistics from cdc.gov.