Painter, novelist and wrestler, Drexler is the great polymath of Pop
Rosalyn Drexler has always moved between worlds. In the late 1950s and early '60s, she showed sculpture at New York's Reuben Gallery, a gathering place for artists like Allan Kaprow and Claes Oldenburg who combined installation and performance with traditional media. Drexler took part in Happenings at Reuben Gallery and at Judson Church (years after her own quasi-performance as a female wrestler, memorialized by Andy Warhol in the 1962 series Album of a Mat Queen). Drexler's collages and large-format paintings of the 1960s open the category of Pop art to technology and politics in a way that feels contemporary today, crossing hard-edge painting with depictions of sex, violence, race and gender role-playing in film and media.
Her writing also crosses high and low genres, comprising novels both experimental and popular, avant-garde theater and writing for television (including an Emmy-winning Lily Tomlin special). In addition to a comprehensive selection of Drexler's major paintings, Who Does She Think She Is? also recovers the artist's early sculptures, recently rediscovered and not exhibited since 1960. Documentation of Drexler's performances and theatrical work, photographs evoking her role in the downtown New York scene and a selection of her books and other archival materials present her work across multiple mediums, offering a comprehensive look at Drexler's varied career.
Rosalyn Drexler was born in 1926 in the Bronx, New York. In 1951 Drexler pursued a brief career as a professional wrestler under the name "Rosa Carlo, the Mexican Spitfire." In January 1964 her work was included in the First International Girlie Exhibit at Pace Gallery, New York. In 1968, Drexler signed the "Writers and Editors War Tax Protest" pledge, vowing to refuse tax payments in protest against the Vietnam War.
About the Author
Before working at The New Yorker, Hilton Als was a staff writer for The Village Voice and an editor-at-large at Vibe. He has also written articles for The Nation and collaborated on film scripts for Swoon and Looking for Langston. The winner of writing awards from the New York Association of Black Journalists and the Guggenheim Foundation, he lives in New York City.
Paolo Bacigalupi is the author of the highly acclaimed The Drowned Cities and the New York Times bestseller Ship Breaker, which was also a Michael L. Printz Award winner and a National Book Award finalist. He is also the author of The Windup Girl and Pump Six and Other Stories and is a winner of the Hugo, Nebula, Locus, Compton Crook, John W. Campbell Memorial, and Theodore Sturgeon Memorial awards. He lives in western Colorado with his wife and son.
Rosalyn Drexler's books include I Am a Beautiful Stranger, Bad Guy, Art Does (Not!) Exist, VULGAR LIVES, TO SMITHEREENS, and the forthcoming Tree Man: A Tough Situation. Drexler has won countless awards including a Primetime Emmy award for Best Writing in Comedy-Variety, Variety or Music in 1974 for her work on Lily (1973), several Obies, and a Guggenheim fellowship. Her paintings are in major American museums, such as the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, and the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; she has showed at PaceWildenstein, and her work has been hailed across the world for its character and wit. Long before a younger generation began working in different mediums, Drexler painted and wrote with trenchant intelligence and insight.
Katy Siegel is the Eugene V. and Clare E. Thaw Endowed Chair in Modern American Art at Stony Brook University and contributing editor at Artforum. She is the author of "The Heroine Paint" and coauthor of Art Works.
a drop-dead-gorgeous, pop-culture-packed look back at her career, which is starting to get the recognition it always deserved.--Randy Kennedy "The New York Times "
A recent reevaluation of Pop art that goes beyond the largely Anglo-American, white male artists with whom it has historically been associated.--Samuel Adams "Artnews "
[Who Does She Think She Is] may contain the secret of Drexler's remarkable ability to sustain such a rich oeuvre over so many decades... Drexler has never ceased to leave the big questions open, to be ready to adopt whatever new role, whatever necessary mask, her art requires... She has always been ahead of her time.--Raphael Rubinstein "Art in America "
The catalogue...makes it clear that there's more than one way to be a star.--Christine Smallwood "Harper's Magazine "
These works teeter towards abstraction but prevail as figurative renderings of intensely private moments... These pieces of performance come together, creating a chorus of identities that harmonizes in a conflicted but coherent whole.--Leah Triplett Harrington "Hyperallergic "
Rosalyn Drexler's life and work appear allergic to the word dull.--Prudence Peiffer "Artforum "