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Leigh Bowery

Violette Editions (1998)

Introduction by Hilton Als, afterword by Boy George
Edited and produced by Robert Violette
Designed by Alan Aboud
Printed cloth binding, 240 pages
Over 300 colour illustrations
35 x 33.3 cm (13 ¾ x 13 in)
ISBN: 978-1-900828-04-8
Limited availability. Price on application


'Any appraisal of Leigh as a performer tends to involve words like punk, kink, drag, camp, schlock. To my mind he transcends those concepts. Thanks to his twisted imagination and wit, he was able to soar above modish trashiness and establish himself as a subversive artist.' – John Richardson, The New Yorker

Texts, interviews, photographs and other contributions by Leigh Bowery, Nicola Bowery, Tom Bowery, Cerith Wyn Evans, Charles Atlas, Lucian Freud, Bruce Bernard, Michael Clark, Nick Knight,
Rifat Ozbek, Fergus Greer, Sue Tilley, Richard Torry, John Maybury, Annie Leibovitz and others.

Leigh Bowery (1961–94) was a performance artist, fashion designer, nightclub sensation, art object, trained pianist, aspiring pop-star and above all an icon whose influence traversed the music, art, film and fashion worlds. Perhaps his best-known role was as the nude model for some of Lucian Freud's most famous and powerful paintings – ironic for the man whose costumes were legendary and which famously frightened taxi drivers, persuaded Japanese tourists to queue for hours and inspired fashion gurus from Vivienne Westwood to John Galliano.

This highly illustrated book is the first and only complete monograph on the artist and includes previously unpublished photographs and ephemera from Bowery's personal archive. It documents his life and work from his arrival in London in 1980 from Sunshine, Australia, through his collaborations with the dancer Michael Clark, his proprietorship of the infamous 1980s nightclub Taboo, his outrageous performances in New York, London and Tokyo, to his formation of the pop group Minty and in the 1990s his most famous incarnation as muse for the painter Lucian Freud, whose portraits of Bowery hang in the Tate, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and other museums around the world.

Hilton Als, a staff writer for The New Yorker, also writes for American Vogue and Artforum and is the author of The Women (Farrar, Strauss & Giroux, 1997).

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