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Hedges Projects x Fotografiska: “Andy Warhol Photographs”

Submitted by on Tuesday, 5 May 2009No Comment

Warhol developed an increasing fascination with the complexity of gender and identity in the late 1960s and the early 1970s. Candy Darling, Holly Woodlawn, and Jackie Curtis were a few of Warhol’s most famous trans Superstars. At that time, and still today, trans people faced tremendous violence, injustice and harassment. During the early 70s, Warhol created the Ladies and Gentlemen series of drag queens and trans women of color. The series was originally commissioned by the Italian art dealer, Luciano Anselmino, in 1974. Under Warhol’s direction, Bob Colacello, editor of Interview magazine, recruited models from The Gilded Grape in Greenwich village. This was a popular bar for the Black and Latinx trans and drag queen community. Drag Magazine described The Gilded Grape as New York’s “sole and only drag hangout.” Warhol was undeniably infatuated with these performers, who represented self-fashioned personas in a glamorous, exhibitionist manner.

Warhol took over 500 photographs of fourteen models. He sifted through the Polaroids with his sitters to find the most successful images, of which a selection was then enlarged onto silkscreens. More than half of the subjects signed at least one of their Polaroids, often by their initials. Yet, the sitters were not identified by their names, only by the theatrical series title Ladies and Gentlemen when it was first shown in Italy. For the first time in 2014, the Warhol Foundation officially identified thirteen of fourteen sitters of the Ladies and Gentlemen series. Their names are: Alphanso Panell, Broadway, Easha McCleary, Helen/Harry Morales, Iris, Ivette, Kim, Lurdes, Marsha P. Johnson, Michele Long, Monique, Vicki Peters, and Wilhelmina Ross. The identity of the fourteenth model remains unknown. These 14 models pioneered a path and bravely put themselves in the spotlight, despite continuous tragedies of injustice they experienced. Their names are reminders of the history of the fight for racial and LGBTQIA+ equality that continues today.

Check out the full exhibition, virtually at fotografiska.

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