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Andy Warhol 'Ladies and gentlemen'

Andy Warhol 'Ladies and gentlemen'

Regular price £12,000.00 GBP
Regular price Sale price £12,000.00 GBP
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Ladies and Gentlemen 133 by Andy Warhol is one of ten screenprints featured in Warhol’s Ladies and Gentlemen portfolio. The original polaroids featured fourteen black and Latinx drag queens, with Ladies and Gentlemen 133 depicting activist Marsha P Johnson. Through this series, Warhol embraced the identity and sexuality of the queer and drag queen community, while addressing the socio-political issues surrounding the LGBTQ community at the time.

Ladies and Gentlemen 133 depicts Marsha P. Johnson, a gay liberation activist and drag queen. Johnson was an influential figure in the Stonewall Uprising of 1969 that took place in New York. The event left a monumental impact on the gay liberation movement of the US and the rest of the Western world during the 1970s and ’80s. Ultimately, the Stonewall Uprising and the events surround it became a cradle for the LGBTQ rights movement. To create Ladies and Gentlemen 133, Warhol captured a polaroid photo of Johnson, enlarged it, and silkscreened it onto a canvas. The main portion of the print is monochromatic, showing Johnson against a white background while black paint emphasizes their facial features and details. Warhol highlights the portrait with shade swatches of pastel pink, maroon, blue, and golden yellow.

Originally, the idea for the Ladies and Gentlemen portfolio came from art dealer Lucian Anselmino, who previously commissioned Warhol to create the Man Ray prints. Anselmino suggested that Warhol create the portfolio as an impersonal and anonymous photo series presenting the drag queens of Manhattan. Anselmino hinted at the title of the portfolio, seeing it as a play on the gender contrast embodied by drag queens.

After considering Anselmin’s proposal, Warhol enlisted the help of Bob Colacello, editor of Interview magazine, and Ronnie Cutrone to help with the project. Warhol asked them to search for black and Latinx drag queens at various hot spots in New York. Colacello and Cutrone found all of the models at the Gilded Grape nightclub at 719 8th Avenue, Manhattan. The club was close to Warhol’s Factory, and quickly became a popular hangout for drag queens as one of the earliest clubs to accept the queer community. They would ask the nightclub revelers to pose “for a friend” for $50 an hour. Subsequently, the drag queens visited the Factory for the photoshoots, where they were never formally introduced to Warhol or who he was.

Although those featured in the Ladies and Gentlemen portfolio are not as well known as Warhol’s other subjects, he depicted them as such. Thus, Ladies and Gentlemen 133 and other prints feature the drag queens in the same style as Warhol’s past works of Marilyn Monroe or Liz Taylor. However, most of the drag queens that posed for the portfolio went unnamed and unlisted in the series. It is known that alongside Johnson, the series of portraits also feature Alphanso Panell, Michele Long, Wilhelmina Ross, and Iris.
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