ROKEBY presents a group exhibition with Jack Smith, Conrad Ventur, Andy Warhol and others who worked with underground film star Mario Montez.
Renowned for his roles in Jack Smith's Flaming Creatures, Normal Love and No President, Montez is a legendary figure in the underground cinema and theatre scene of New York City. Most active in the ‘60's he starred in thirteen Warhol films, was a founding member of Charles Ludlam's Ridiculous Theatrical Company and played the lead in Jose Rodriguez Soltero's Lupe. In 1977 Montez retired his signature drag persona and left New York for Orlando, Florida.
Montez emerged from retirement in 2009 and subsequently began a multi-media collaboration with Conrad Ventur. Work from their ongoing project, including a selection of prints from a larger body of photographic work, will be exhibited alongside important historical works from Montez' past collaborators.
The recent photographs by Conrad Ventur are hybrids of cinematic fictions and reality. Created within the legacy of Mario Montez they reference his own debut performance as Dolores Flores in Jack Smith’s Flaming Creatures, his performance in Smith's Jungle Island, Andy Warhol’s Batman / Dracula and his original Screen Test. Framed under the banner of history and the passage of time, Ventur’s photographs and films are installed alongside historical works featuring Mario by Andy Warhol, Jack Smith, Leandro Katz, Avery Willard, Takahiko Ilmura, Santi Visalli and others to create a filmic narrative that connects, rewinds, recycles and repeats decades whilst simultaneously reviewing one of the remaining pivotal members of ‘60‘s underground New York within the context of the past and present.
Conrad Ventur (Seattle 1977) lives and works in New York. He recently re-staged thirteen of Andy Warhol's screen test portraits, including Montez, approximating the lighting, frame and playback speed of the originals. The work has recently been purchased by The Whitney Museum of American Art.
The installation will include screenings and a talks program.