"Untitled (drag performance)," 1990-1991
mixed media, variable
From the artist: "I was fascinated by my mother's feminine self-identity," says Reynolds in describing the origin of his drag alter ego, Patina du Prey, shown in this piece. "I wanted to be like her. When home alone [as a little boy] I would try on her dresses, wigs and shoes. Doing this always gave me a sense of freedom and a feeling of ecstasy. One day it occurred to me to do a performance for my friends. They went home and told their parents what they had seen me do, and I was banned from playing with them after that. Labeled as a bad influence and a strange boy, this had a profound effect on me, and I never put on another dress until 1989."
Why we chose this piece: The "caged beauty" imagery of this piece is a reminder that HIVers too often give in to the notion that our beauty as human beings is trapped by our serostatus.