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February 2, 2020 - September 5, 2020

An opulent double portrait of two gender ambiguous individuals. One person seated in a chair with long, red twisted hair draped down their chest and piled high on their head. The subject wears a strapless dress with floral patterning on the hem expanding up toward the bodice. The second subject is on the floor leaning against the first person. They have long, wavy black hair, full lips, and high cheek bones. Theyre wearing a matching cape and jacket and an embroidered shirt. Their expression is coy.

Orlando presents recent and newly commissioned photographs inspired by the themes of Virginia Woolf’s prescient 1928 novel, which tells the story of a young nobleman during the era of Queen Elizabeth I who lives for three centuries without aging and mysteriously shifts gender along the way. In 1992, filmmaker Sally Potter released a now-classic adaptation of the book with Tilda Swinton in the starring role. Since then, Woolf’s tale has continued to hold sway over the actor, who describes the book’s ability “to change like a magic mirror. Where I once assumed it was a book about eternal youth, I now see it as a book about growing up, about learning to live.”

The exhibition extends Swinton’s longtime exploration of the central themes of the novel; gender fluidity, limitlessness, and the deep perspective that is earned from a long life. Supported by a new selection of artworks from the McEvoy Family Collection, Orlando offers a panoply of colors and tastes that seek to liberate traditions of portraiture in photography from the constructs of prescriptive gender or social norms at a moment when debates around identity, representation, and society have reinvigorated the story’s legacy.

Orlando is accompanied by Issue #235, Summer 2019 of Aperture magazine, also guest-edited by Swinton, featuring writings from Michael Cunningham, Isaac Julien, Lynne Tillman, and B. Ruby Rich. Copies are available at McEvoy Arts throughout the exhibition.

Featured Artists
Zackary Drucker
Lynn Hershman Leeson
Paul Mpagi Sepuya
Jamal Nxedlana
Elle Pérez
Walter Pfeiffer
Sally Potter
Viviane Sassen
Collier Schorr
Mickalene Thomas
Carmen Winant

Selections from the McEvoy Family Collection
Mariette Pathy Allen
Carol Bove
Bill Brandt
Talia Chetrit
Nan Goldin
Yasumasa Morimura
Lorna Simpson
Grete Stern


Wheelchair accessible, ASL interpretation, Service Animals allowed
BIPOC artist(s), Women curated, Women artist(s), LGBTQIA+ artist(s)
Event Type
Gallery, Visual Art