© Andy Warhol / Artist Rights Society (ARS), New York, NY.

Andy Warhol: Ladies and Gentlemen

In 1975, Interview magazine editor Bob Colacello strolled into The Gilded Grape, a dive nightclub in New York City’s Hell’s Kitchen, with one question. He approached a group of glamorous drag queens, asking them if they’d be willing to model for “a friend” for $50. That friend happened to be Andy Warhol, who later photographed the queens just like any of his other iconic muses—at a three-fourths angle with his Polaroid camera. Of these Polaroids, Warhol chose 10 photographs for his silkscreen series “Ladies and Gentlemen,” which portray the queens as confident, coy, and vulnerable. Fascinated by the queens’ exhibitionism and meticulous grooming, Warhol once mused, “They do all the things: They think about shaving and not shaving, of primping and not primping, of buying men’s clothes and women’s clothes. I guess it’s interesting to try to be another sex.”

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