10. Deborah Kass

Deborah Kass b. 1952, San Antonio, Texas Triple Ghost Yentl (My Elvis) silkscreen and acrylic on canvas, 1997 The Alfond Collection of Contemporary Art Gift of Barbara '68 and Theodore '68 Alfond Cornell Fine Arts Museum, Rollins College 2013.34.91 A feminist artist often engaged in institutional critiques, Deborah Kass draws inspiration from the work of well-known male artists such as Frank Stella and Ellsworth Kelly. Her most frequent appropriations are inspired by Andy Warhol who remains one of the most widely recognized artists for his artistic production, his persona, and the prominence placed on his work within the commercial art sector. Andy Warhol created portraits of pop culture icons such as Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor. This particular work takes inspiration from Warhol’s portrait of a young Elvis Presley. Warhol’s portrait of Presley was inspired by a production shot from the singer/actor’s Western Flamingo Star, originally released in 1960. In effect, Kass’s representation here is an appropriation of an appropriation. While the repetition of the form and the distinctive stance recall Warhol’s representation of Elvis, the figure’s face and costume suggest a wholly different pop cultural reference. The face of the figure is Barbara Streisand from the movie Yentil made in 1983. For this film, Streisand was the director, star, and co-writer and co-producer. The film followed Streisand’s character, Yentl Mendel, a young Jewish woman in Poland who dressed like a man to pursue education in Talmudic Law. Major themes of gender and identity are paramount to this work, and also represented in other works in the Alfond Collection of Contemporary Art by artists such as Lalla Essaydi and Cobi Moules.