An array of portraits of drag queens and trans women by Andy Warhol are part of a new exhibition at London’s Tate Modern next year.
The curators revealed 25 paintings from Warhol’s Ladies and Gentlemen series will be featured in one gallery, many of which have never been exhibited before.
Originally commissioned in 1974 by art dealer, Luciano Anselmino, it followed the death of trans actress, Candy Darling, who was a Warhol Factory Superstar.
In 1974 Warhol and Interview magazine editor Bob Colacello hit up the drag/ trans hangout, The Gilded Grape (on the corner of 8th Ave & 45th) in NYC’s Times Square to find sitters for the commission.
Colacello got girls to model for Warhol by paying them $50, which at the time was a decent amount of money. The Andy Warhol Foundation has since identified all but one of the 14 sitters, one of whom was Marsha P Johnson, a trailblazer in the 1969 Stonewall uprising.
Gregor Muir, a Tate co-curator and director, said of the series,
“I had heard there might be these paintings in existence and I met the people who own them now and I went to visit them and it was quite the most remarkable thing.
They were mostly in storage and it was just very beautiful and exciting to pull out these paintings and handle them and start to look through each and every work.”
It is remarkably contemporary and a series that not that many people will be familiar with.Through today’s lens it is particularly relevant with the recent anniversary of the Stonewall uprising. I think this was a project that was close to Warhol’s heart.”
Frances Morris, Tate Modern director, said Warhol was an
“artist who feels more relevant and influential today than ever.
In today’s climate, it feels important to take a more human and more personal look at somebody who was a very familiar artist.”
Maybe this series is little-known in the UK, but in art circles, especially in NYC, it’s quite well-known. Just Google “Andy Warhol Ladies and Gentlemen” (Wowlebrity & friend, eBay‘s Bradford Shellhammer has several from the series in the NYC loft he shares with his husband, Georgi Balinov.)
Andy Warhol opens on March 12 through September 6, 2020 at The Tate Modern in London. Find out more here.
(Images, The Andy Warhol Foundation; via Pink News)