Warhol & Mapplethorpe: Guise & Dolls
October 17, 2015–January 24, 2016
As far as I’m concerned, being any gender is a drag. –Patti Smith
Focusing on New York in the 1970s and early 80s, Warhol & Mapplethorpe: Guise & Dolls will explore the vibrant and tumultuous era of change through the work of Andy Warhol and Robert Mapplethorpe, both of whom created significant bodies of work in self-portraiture, in which particular disguises, characters and ambiguous personalities are evoked. The first dual museum exhibition to feature these two visionary artists, Guise & Dolls will include the artists’ portraits of each other, self-portraits and a selection of iconic portraits of sitters that address role-playing and gender roles–masculinity, femininity and androgyny.
Guise & Dolls will focus on several prominent bodies of work from each artist’s oeuvre: Warhol’s “Ladies and Gentlemen” series (1975) of drag queen portraits, Christopher Makos’s “Altered Images” series of Warhol in drag, Mapplethorpe’s photographs of lifelong friend and longtime muse Patti Smith that range from masculine to feminine and Mapplethorpe’s photographic series and book Lady: Lisa Lyon (1983) of the female bodybuilding champion in numerous gender-bending guises. Androgynous and cross-dressing subjects, including Bob Colacello, Candy Darling and Grace Jones will supplement the series. The exhibition will showcase approximately 75 works of art including paintings, photographs, Polaroids, prints and video.
Warhol and Mapplethorpe are embedded in the Wadsworth’s history. They have both been subjects of the museum’s MATRIX solo exhibition series: Andy Warhol / MATRIX 50 (1979) featured the Still Life (Hammer and Sickle) paintings of 1976 and Robert Mapplethorpe / MATRIX 80 (1984)—curated by former Wadsworth curator and Mapplethorpe’s lover Sam Wagstaff—presented 20 gelatin silver prints and photogravures of “Flowers” (1983). The Wadsworth also participated in the much publicized and controversial touring exhibition, Robert Mapplethorpe: The Perfect Moment (1989). In 1999, the museum organized the exhibition, About Face: Andy Warhol Portraits, which traveled to the Miami Art Museum in 2000.
Patricia Hickson, Emily Hall Tremaine Curator of Contemporary Art, is organizing the exhibition.
A fully illustrated catalogue, including essays by a variety of scholars, curators and artists, will accompany the exhibition. The catalogue will be the first scholarly in-depth analysis relating these two important artists and gender politics.
ABOVE LEFT: Andy Warhol (1928‒1987), Camouflage Self-Portrait, 1986, synthetic polymer paint and silkscreen on canvas, image: 80 x 80 inches, frame: 82 1/8 x 82 1/8 x 2 ¾ inches, Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, Connecticut; The Ella Gallup Sumner and Mary Catlin Sumner Collection Fund, with a partial gift of The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc., 1994.12.1
ABOVE RIGHT: Andy Warhol (1928‒1987), Robert Mapplethorpe, 1983, screenprint on Lenox museum board, 40 1/8 x 40 ½ inches, WadsworthAtheneumMuseum of Art; Contemporary Art Purchase Fund, 1998.16.1