EYE CANDY

See Elizabeth Taylor As You’ve Never Seen Her Before: Through the Eyes of the Artist Who’s Painted Her—Often Profanely—for More Than 30 Years

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Kathe Burkhart, courtesy of Mary Boone Gallery

While Kathe Burkhart is hardly alone in her obsession with Elizabeth Taylor, the artist is probably the only one who’s extended hers as far as painting portraits of the actress for more than 30 years. And while Taylor’s skin has remained pale—and her eyes, of course, violet—in the series, a large-scale selection of which, curated by Piper Marshall and stretching from 1982 to 2017, is now on display at New York’s Mary Boone Gallery until February 24, her surroundings have certainly differed, and not just because of the accents of everything from fake fur to eviction notices to biohazard signs that even decorate her forehead. Many of the works—film stills included—are also decorated with all-caps, bold-faced words ranging from “F— OFF” to “C-NT” to “COCKTEASER,” all of which, along with the fact that Taylor’s skin comes across as ghostly white rather than her famous porcelain—serve as indicators that the portraits aren’t just of Taylor, but also of Burkhart, whose brazen examinations of sexualization, performativity, and queerness have long made her name almost always accompanied by the phrase “bad girl”—never mind that at the very least because of her gender identity, it should simply be “bad ass”—herself. Get to know both the artist and Taylor through a side of her you’ve never seen before, here.

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Kathe Burkhart, courtesy of Mary Boone Gallery

Kathe Burkhart, The Artworld: Advertising, Publicity, Exploitation, Showmanship: from the Liz Taylor Series (The VIPs), 1987.

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Kathe Burkhart, courtesy of Mary Boone Gallery

Kathe Burkhart, Fuck Off: from the Liz Taylor Series (Raintree County), 2015.

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Kathe Burkhart, courtesy of Mary Boone Gallery

Kathe Burkhart, Cunt: from the Liz Taylor Series (Raintree County), 2010.

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Kathe Burkhart, courtesy of Mary Boone Gallery

Kathe Burkhart, Get the Fuck Out: from the Liz Taylor Series (Elephant Walk), 2017.

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Kathe Burkhart, courtesy of Mary Boone Gallery

Kathe Burkhart, Cockteaser: from the Liz Taylor Series (Giant), 2007.

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Kathe Burkhart, courtesy of Mary Boone Gallery

Kathe Burkhart, Lick Bush: from the Liz Taylor Series (Butterfield 8), 2001.

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Kathe Burkhart, courtesy of Mary Boone Gallery

Kathe Burkhart, Blueballs: from the Liz Taylor Series (Cat on a Hot Tin Roof), 2007.

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Kathe Burkhart, courtesy of Mary Boone Gallery

Kathe Burkhart, *Mindfuck: from the Liz Taylor Series (The VIPs), 1988.