With a career spanning decades, Elizabeth Taylor became a cultural icon for generations of Americans. To some, she will forever remain a spirited young girl with a passion for horses. For others, a kohl-eyed Egyptian seductress. For children of the '80s she was the glamourous, big-haired starlet behind the White Diamonds fragrance line, seen tossing her earrings into the pot of a high-stakes poker game ("Not so fast O'Brian. These have always brought me luck"), friend of Michael Jackson, and a prominent figure in the movement to bring HIV/AIDS awareness to the general population.
The local art community paid tribute to the many faces and facets of the onscreen legend over the weekend at War'hous Visual Studios with "We Love You Liz...Remembering Elizabeth Taylor with Art."
War'hous, located in a non-descript building at the intersection of 59 and Main, does not have a sign and would have been easy to miss had it not been for the people spilling out onto the lawn, enjoying beer and DJ Ceeplus and Badknives's mix of classic and modern music audible through the door. The atmosphere was lively and hip, with a touch of irreverence we've come to expect (and enjoy) from Tra' Slaughter, the show's organizer as well as a participating artist.
On the motivation behind the show, Slaughter said, "Elizabeth Taylor was a true icon and a pioneer in bringing AIDS awareness to the public" adding, "What better way to remember her than to make a donation to a local AIDS / HIV assistance program?" All donations from the door and 25 to 100 percent of sales from artwork benefitted Legacy Community Health Services, a local 501(c)3 organization specializing in HIV/AIDS testing, education, and treatment.
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The art on display ran the gamut from a fur-flanked stained glass sculpture with a 16-minute video collage played before an audience of motorized doll arms ("Eternally Liz", Lowdown Pilgrim), to a representation of Taylor's Cleopatra and her soul twin, the Egyptian goddess Isis ("Isis", Frances Trotter), cross stitch ("Elizabeth, The Needle and the Thread", Kim Hatter), the actress in feline form ("Lizcat", Anna Sprage), jewel encrusted ("Diamonds", Jordan Sills), and everything in between. One standout piece was a demonic expression of the actress by Dandee Warhol, otherwise known as War'hous owner Dandee Danao. "Zombie Liz", painted on paper-backed plexiglass backlit with a strand of LED lights, had red glowing eyes and a sinister stare that seemed to follow us around the room.
If you missed the opening over the weekend and are looking to purchase original, affordable art, never fear. "We Love You Liz" will be on display at War'hous Visual Studios through Sunday, June 6. Artists donating a portion or all of the proceeds from the sale of their work to Legacy include Tra' Slaughter, Leo Medrano, Diedra Lizacano, Miz R. Charissa, Sonya Gracia, Johnathon Michael, Kim Hatter, Brandy Black, Buddy Slaughter, Michael Wooten, Bobbe Ann DeLuca, Lowbrow Pilgrim, Micah Simmons, Andrea Ancira, Shadi Farahani, Carl Lockstedt, Jennifer Kristoff, Brian Boyter, JSQUARD, Jennifer Eli, Dandee Warhol, Frances Trotter, Kenneth Pierson, Big Mike Hernandez, Dave Ancira, Alex Noel, Dae Uno, Pamela Enriquez, Julie Zarate, Stephanie Guarjardo, Kyle Breaux, Michel H. Draper, Jordan Sills, James Linares, Brenda Caylor, Andres Chapa, Devra Singer, Lizbeth Ortiz, Angela Obenhaus, Karen Cartagena, Craig C. Tha Artist, and Carolina Wackerle.