Ringelberg joined curator Kenneth Brummel and artist/activist Ravyn Wngz to discuss Andy Warhol’s portrait series "Ladies and Gentlemen."
Art History Professor Kirstin Ringelberg spoke on a panel hosted by the Art Gallery of Ontario and addressed Andy Warhol’s 1975 portrait series “Ladies and Gentlemen,” which represents a number of New York’s Latinx and Black drag queens and trans women.
Ringelberg, along with associate curator of modern art Kenneth Brummel and artist Ravyn Wngz, spoke at the Aug. 19 event about the unique series in Warhol’s body of work in the contexts of race, trans visual culture and Black and Latinx queer and trans activism.
Their conversation was in conjunction with the Art Gallery of Ontario’s blockbuster retrospective exhibition of Warhol’s work and in collaboration with Tate Modern, which, due to its scale, offers a rare opportunity to see a significant number of the works from the “Ladies and Gentlemen” series that are normally not exhibited.
Brummel wanted to highlight that series within the exhibition and lift up the portrait subjects who are generally overlooked within the vast range of Warhol exhibitions and scholarship.
Among the sitters were Marsha P. Johnson, renowned activist and co-founder of STAR (Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries), as well as Wilhelmina Ross, who performed alongside Johnson in the Hot Peaches Troupe and in Charles Ludlam’s Ridiculous Theatrical Company with Warhol regular Mario Montez.
While Warhol worked often with white drag queens and trans women such as Candy Darling and Holly Woodlawn, the “Ladies and Gentlemen” series features only Latinx and Black models and stands out from the bulk of Warhol’s massive body of portraits in doing so.
Ringelberg discussed some of the ethical problems in Warhol’s series and its reception, as well as offering a body of contemporary texts and authors through which the series could be better understood today, both art historically and in light of contemporary trans scholarship.
Wngz, a Tanzanian, Bermudian, Mohawk, 2Spirit, Queer and Transcendent empowerment storyteller and co-founder of ILL NANA/DiverseCity Dance Company, spoke in terms of the relationship to her own experiences as an artist, activist and co-founder of Black Lives Matter Canada.
The panel was presented on zoom and the recording is now available to be watched on the Art Gallery of Ontario’s website.