Born in Chicago, she received her MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute. Working in a variety of mediums such as installation, video, performance, public art, visual art, entertainment, television and film, memorials, music, and literature, she has presented her work worldwide in various venues such as The Bobino in Paris, The ICA in London and Lincoln Center in NYC. Finley lectures and gives workshop at universities and museums internationally. Her work is in collections such as the Museum of Contemporary art and the Pompidou. She is the author of eight books, including a 25th anniversary edition of Shock Treatment ( City Lights 2015 ), Reality Shows, (Feminist Press 2011), and George and Martha ( Verso 2008). Her recent work includes, Artist Anonymous – a social practice self help open meeting for those addicted to art presented at Museum of Art and Design (2014) , and Written in Sand, a performance of music and her writings on AIDS, Open Heart, a Holocaust memorial at Camp Gusen, Austria; Broken Negative, where Finley reconsiders her infamous chocolate performance that brought her to the Supreme Court, in Finley vs. NEA; and at the New Museum, NYC Sext ME if You Can, where Finley creates commissioned portraits inspired by “sexts” received from the public. Finley creates interactive walks such as Mandala: Reimaging Columbus Circle Columbia Graduate school of Architecture and Elastic City. A recipient of many awards and grants including a Guggenheim Fellowship, NYSCA and NEA fellowships. In 2015 she was awarded the Richard J Massey Foundation Arts and Humanities award.