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LADIES AND GENTLEMAN AT ADAA

By March 15, 2015 January 22nd, 2020 No Comments

I can unequivocally say that this piece from Andy Warhol’s portrait series entitled, Ladies and Gentleman, or more commonly referred to as “The Drag Queen Paintings”, was my favorite this year at the Art Dealer’s Association of America’s Art Show at the Park Avenue Armory. The energy of the paint and the intensity and vibrancy of the palette enthralled me….unfortunately the price point – not so much….Warhol was encouraged to produce a series on drag queens by the art dealer Luciano Anselmino in 1975.  The story goes that he sent his good friend, Bob Colecello, who years later became the editor of Warhol’s Interview magazine, to a downtown nightclub in pursuit of transgender individuals who were willing to sit for a portrait for $ 50.00. Not realizing at the time that they would be sitting for Warhol, they are known to have quipped that they would have done a lot more for $50.00! These paintings were created using Warhol’s classic portrait formula.  Beginning first with a Polaroid picture, which he then silkscreened onto a canvas and lastly he applied synthetic polymer paint. Warhol honoured his subjects by selecting a vibrant and feminine palette of reds, pinks, yellows and pastels to create works that are glamorous and unique in their painterly quality. The thick application of paint distinguishes these works from Warhol’s characteristic highly mechanical process that is prevalent in Warhol’s oeuvre.

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