Kathe Burkhart is an artist and writer who uses images and text to, in her words, “articulate a radical female subject.” She considers this confrontational, sensual work, entitled Fuck You: From The Liz Taylor Series (After Bert Stern) (1984), to be the first fully realized canvas in this series, which has been ongoing since 1982. The large-scale, richly saturated paintings combine appropriated portraits of actress Elizabeth Taylor (here, in a shot of her as Cleopatra taken by Bert Stern for Vogue magazine in 1962) with profane language, shattering both female stereotypes and conventions of representation. Taylor was a controversial feminist figure throughout her career, conveying equal parts bravura, sexual power, and vulnerability. Burkhart — collapsing the genres of portraiture and self-portraiture — treated the actress as a figure for her own life in the diary-like narrative series.
Kathe Burkhart’s Prick: From the Liz Taylor Series (Suddenly Last Summer) (1987) is based on a scene from the 1959 film Suddenly Last Summer, starring Elizabeth Taylor. The artist has amassed an extensive archive of film stills of Taylor, which she uses for an ongoing series based on the actress’s image — works she sees as self-portraits related to her own life through the choice of image and text. For Burkhart, Taylor represents an important and iconic early feminist:
“Liz Taylor as an actress was often gender nonconforming, and unlike Marilyn Monroe, Judy Garland and other Hollywood victims, she survived.
Photographed as Part of Fast Forward: Painting From The 1980s at the Whitney Museum of Americana Art, on Exhibit Through May 14th, 2017.
Russell Young (born March 13, 1959) is a British-American artist. In the late 1970s, while living in London, he gained recognition photographing the early live club shows of Bauhaus, R.E.M. and The Smiths. During this period he shot portraits of Morrissey, Bjork, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, New Order, Diana Ross, and Paul Newman. In 1986, he shot the Faith sleeve for George Michael. In the following ten years he directed more than 100 music videos during the heyday of MTV.
In September 2000, while living in New York City, he began to concentrate on art and to devote himself to painting. Young is best known for his enamel, screen-print paintings on linen, which explore celebrity, rock and roll, death and history. His earliest notable works as an artist are his “Pig Portraits” – life-size Police mug shots of celebrities screened onto canvas. First shown in 2003, they proved a critical success and were exhibited in London and the United States.
Russell Young is represented by Taglialatella Galleries in NYC and you a can see a good selection of his large, glittery portraits any day, just by popping in during regular business hours. I took this shot of Young’s portrait depicting a stunning Liz Taylor at the opening reception for the launch of his new print of Jackie O. You miss so much when you don’t live in NYC.
Even though I live right in the heart of hustling, bustling Manhattan, I do not tend to see a lot of Broadway shows, particularly since being made to suffer the tortures of the damned that is Spring Awakening. But when Geoffrey came back from having seen Carrie Fisher’s one woman show, Wishful Drinking, with non-stop rave reviews, I knew I had to check it out. Because Geoffrey knows his funny. Knowing that my BFF Sue would be in town visiting me from LA this past weekend, I purchased a couple of tickets for us to see Wishful Drinking on Saturday evening. (BTW Goldstar Events has tickets for selected show dates on sale for half price, so I recommend checking that site first before going to the box office/Ticketmaster). Needless to say, we were not disappointed.
In Wishful Drinking, Ms. Fisher, the actress best known to everyone as the iconic Princess Leia from Star Wars, candidly enthralls the audience with various excerpts from her recent autobiography of the same title. From the flow-chart-style examination of her convoluted “celebrity” family tree (her parents are actress Debbie Reynolds and singer Eddie Fisher) to her “behind the scenes” tidbits about working with director George Lucas on Star Wars, to her marriages, bouts with drug rehab and ongoing treatment for Bipolar Disorder, Carrie takes a brutally frank approach to peeling back the layers of her darkly comic and extremely fascinating life. Mental illness was never so hilarious! Sue and I completely fell in love with Carrie while laughing our asses off. Immediately after the show ended, we ran around to the back of the theater and hovered briefly by the stage door, from which Carrie soon exited and cheerfully signed our Playbills! Yay for souvenirs! Trust me, even if you think Star Wars blows, this is one Broadway show you will not want to miss if at all humanly possible, because Carrie Fisher is awesome.
Wishful Drinking runs through January 3, 2010 at the Roundabout Theater (formerly Studio 54), 254 West 54th Street; (212) 719-1300. Running time: 2 hours & 20 minutes (including a 15 minute intermission). Continue reading →