JACKIE CURTIS (1974) Oversized portrait


New York: Roy Blakey Photography, 1974. Vintage original 14 x 11″ (36 x 28 cm.) double weight oversize black-and-white photo. With photographer stamp on back. Accompanied by a 6 3/4 x 5 7/8″ (16.5 x 12.5 cm.) blueline proof (date stamped Oct 3, 1974) used for publication, very possibly in After Dark magazine (as evidenced by publisher Rudolf Orthwine’s stamp on verso). Fine.

An unusually glamorous image of Warhol superstar Jackie Curtis in a sumptuous large format. Curtis appeared in many off-off Broadway productions in the early to mid-1970s. While performing in drag, Curtis would typically wear lipstick, glitter, bright red hair, ripped dresses and stockings. Curtis pioneered this combination of trashy and glamour, a style that has prompted assertions that Curtis inspired the glitter/glam rock movement of the 1970s.

Andy Warhol said of Curtis, “Jackie Curtis is not a drag queen. Jackie is an artist. A pioneer without a frontier.” Primarily a stage actress, Curtis debuted at the age of 17 in Tom Eyen’s play Miss Nefertiti Regrets produced in 1965 at La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club along with fellow newcomer Bette Midler. Curtis began writing her own plays immediately after this production. Her productions often featured well-known transgender performers, such as Candy Darling and Holly Woodlawn.

And photos of her can be found — but I have personally never seen another to give her this kind of deluxe and, frankly, elegant treatment.

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