Gender ambiguity in the spotlight at 'ground-breaking' Bowes Museum exhibition
By Stuart Laundy - Senior Reporter
PERFORMANCES based on gender ambiguity and LGBTQ+ history will feature in the public opening of #Untitled10 2019 at The Bowes Museum, in Barnard Castle.
Drag king Lady Kitt is one of the ten artists commissioned by the Bowes Centre for Art, Craft and Design, whose work is featured in the exhibition and is collaborating with the Newcastle-based drag collective DGA throughout the launch on Friday, October 11.
The artist has been inspired by James Pradier’s silver sculpture of Sappho, the painting of Amarillis Crowning Mirtillo and Joséphine Bowes’ work and life in Paris.
One of the performances is a tribute to Joséphine’s time as an actress playing “breeches roles”, where she would portray a young male character on stage in the Théâtre des Variétés.
At 12.45pm and 4pm the collective showcase a high energy lip sync performance called Gentleman Joséphine, which will make reference to her work playing a man, along with other figures from history including Anne Lister, otherwise known as Gentleman Jack.
In their other performances, from 11am to noon and again from 2.15pm to 3.15pm, they will showcase a semi-improvised dance work called Our love is a stow away. Always? inspired by the painting of Amarillis Crowning Mirtillo and which will show the performers in a series of “tender and authentic interactions”.
Lady Kitt said: “I grew up in nearby Bishop Auckland visiting often, so this project is particularly special and emotional for me. My proposal was to find and unfold some of the LGBTQ stories in the museum and I’m absolutely delighted that the Bowes Centre has embraced and responded so positively to my work.”
Matthew Read, director of the Bowes Centre, said: “It’s really exciting that The Bowes Museum is at the very heart of this ground-breaking work. It’s amazing to see all the ways in which the different artists have interpreted the stories and history that make up the collection of the museum.”