Freud, Bowery, Greer, and Gender Bending the InStyle Hollywood Makeover Tool

Gender Bending the InStyle Hollywood Makeover toolOne of the perks of being a media maker and cultural critic is that I can procrastinate online and call it “art” or “research.” Here’s what happened when Dina Brown got her hands on the InStyle Magazine Hollywood Makeover tool back in 2008. Can you recognize the “celebrity hair try-ons?” Talk about perpetuating the culture industry!

I like to think I’m subverting the machine a bit, but I have been thinking a lot lately about how so much male drag, my own included, still subscribes to such a specific performance of gender in culture. That’s one of the reasons I highlight Leigh Bowery as a queer hero of mine in THE SKIN I’M IN. He (along with the artists who documented and interpreted his performances like Fergus Greer and Lucian Freud) pushed ideas of drag and performativity out of easily understandable binaries into the realms of the surreal and the unconscious.

LEIGH BOWERY LOOKS Session 1/Look 2, November 1988 © Fergus Greer
Fergus Greer’s “Session 1/Look 2” November 1988 © Fergus Greer Courtesy of Michael Hoppen Gallery
Naked Man, Back View (1991-1992) by Lucian Freud
Lucian Freud’s “Naked Man, Back View” (1991-1992) at the Metropolitan Museum of Art New York