Virtuoso Illusions: The Artist as Transvestite

posted: 02-08-10
Andy Warhol, Self-Portrait (in Drag)
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A recently opened show at MIT's List Visual Arts Center lays bare the deep associations between cross-dressing and the artistic avant-garde, from classical drama to the (as always somewhat) polymorphous present. Naturally, the labors of Marcel Duchamp and Man Ray to give birth to the transvestite persona Rrose Selavy are fundamental; guest curator Michael Rush provides rare insight into how the act both resonates and defies the profound ambivalence with which the core Surrealist group greeted female artists and then-emerging feminist thought.

Others with work on display include Pierre Molinier, Andy Warhol, Manon, Brian O'Doherty and several contemporary videographers, photographers and performance artists. The pioneering career of Claude Cahun (1894-1954), a contemporary and associate of the Surrealists, is represented through curatorial reference, as is that of Jack Smith (1932-1989).

(Through April 4. More details at


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