Andy Warhol’s portraits of trans women will go on show for the first time as part of a wide-ranging exhibition at London’s Tate Modern.
The new show, which attempts to offer a closer and more detailed look at Warhol’s life and identity, will explore different avenues which include sexuality, death, religion and migration.
Among the work to be exhibited will be the extremely rare collection of 25 African American and Latinx drag queen and trans women paintings. The work, first commissioned in 1974 by Italian art dealer Luciano Anselmino, were an immediate reaction to the death of trans actor Candy Darling—a creative who starred in Warhol’s controversial film Flesh just a few years prior. “It is one of Warhol’s biggest series of works but probably the least known,” Fiontán Moran, co-curator of the show, told The Guardian.
Tate director Gregor Muir, who is working alongside Moran on the show, added: “I had heard there might be these paintings in existence and I met the people who own them now and I went to visit them and it was quite the most remarkable thing.
“They were mostly in storage and it was just very beautiful and exciting to pull out these paintings and handle them and start to look through each and every work. It is remarkably contemporary and a series that not that many people will be familiar with.
He concluded: “Through today’s lens it is particularly relevant with the recent anniversary of the Stonewall uprising. I think this was a project that was close to Warhol’s heart.”
The exhibition, which is the Tate’s first Warhol show in almost 20 years, will feature 100 works including iconic portraits from his pop art period which includes Elvis I and II, Marilyn Diptych, a 1980 portrait of Debbie Harry and more.
Andy Warhol at Tate Modern, 12 March to 6 September.