Armory Week 2019 News

Bunny Business: Margaret Harrison Sends Up Playboy Hugh Hefner at the Armory Show

Margaret Harrison, This is only a bunny boy but he is quite nice really, 1971–2011.

COURTESY ADN GALERIA

One of the more beguiling works in the Armory Show this year is a little drawing that grows more arresting the longer you stare into its absurdist soul. It was originally part of an exhibition in 1971, when Margaret Harrison had her debut solo show in London at Motif Editions Gallery—but only for one night.

“It was censored and locked down after the opening for indecency because Margaret feminized the bodies of well-known figures, including Hugh Hefner,” said Miguel Angel Sanchez, who is showing the work in the booth for his Barcelona-based enterprise ADN Galeria.

The drawing with watercolor accentuation shows Hefner, the late Playboy magnate, striking a bold and busty pose, with a garter belt and a pipe under his floppy ears. Is that a rabbit where his penis is supposed to be? “That’s a rabbit,” Sanchez said.

It turns out the drawing is in fact a re-drawing, as the original was stolen after the one-night show—supposedly by the Bunny Boy Club, a fan club of sorts with reverence for Hefner. To make up for the loss, Harrison—an English artist who splits her time between Cumbria, England, and San Francisco—drew it again, and it is being offered along with some originals from the same ill-fated gallery show, for prices ranging between $10,000 and $16,000.

One of the others, Good Enough to Eat, shows a lady in lingerie writhing on a bed of lettuce in the midst of a giant sandwich—”a woman as an object being commodified,” said Sanchez, who added that Harrison’s work often carries in it a sense of feminist critique.

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