Andy Warhol portraits of drag queens and trans women to go on display
Andy Warhol’s portraits of drag queens and trans women will go on show at a new exhibition at Tate Modern.
The gallery’s retrospective on the late Pop artist, famous for his depictions of Marilyn Monroe, Coca-Cola bottles and Campbell’s soup cans, opens next spring.
One room will be devoted to Ladies And Gentlemen, from Warhol’s 250 brightly coloured portraits of New York’s African-American and Latinx (the gender-neutral alternative to Latino and Latina) drag queens and trans women.
A private collection is lending 25 of the works, making the display the largest presentation of the series in the UK.
The paintings were created at a time of growing public interest in gender fluidity but also prejudice.
The sitters, who have since died, were not named when the portraits first went on display in 1975 but all but one of the 14 sitters will now be identified, following research by the Andy Warhol Foundation.
Over 100 works by Warhol, who died in 1987 aged 58, will go on show at the retrospective.
Warhol was shot by Valerie Solanas, who felt that the Pop artist had “too much control over (her) life”, in 1968 and briefly pronounced dead in hospital.
He died in his sleep while recovering from gallbladder surgery in 1987, just a few months after creating the 10-metre wide canvas Sixty Last Suppers, which will go on display in the UK for the first time.
Tate Modern director Frances Morris said Warhol is “an artist who feels more relevant and influential today than ever”.
“He is one of the most recognisable names in the late 20th century but in today’s climate, it feels important to take a more human and more personal look at somebody who is a very familiar artist,” she said.
Warhol’s Marilyn Monroe images, his photobooth self-portrait and his images of pop stars Debbie Harry and Dolly Parton will go on display.
The exhibition will look at Warhol through a “new lens” – as a “shy, gay man from a religious, migrant, low-income household”.
Warhol grew up in Pittsburgh in the US after his parents emigrated from a small village in what is now Slovakia.
Andy Warhol runs from March 12 to September 6 2020 at Tate Modern, in partnership with Bank Of America.