An interview with Rosalyn Drexler conducted 2017 May 17 and June 2 by Christopher Lyon, for the Archives of American Art, at Garth Greenan Gallery in New York, New York.
Drexler discusses her childhood in the Bronx; her experiences studying dance and music; her higher education at Hunter College; attending films and the Yiddish Theater; meeting her husband Sherman Drexler; her time as a professional wrestler; her memories of traveling to the South and encountering Jim Crow segregation; she describes learning about art from Sherman Drexler and her joint exhibition with Sherman; her early work in sculpture; participating in Happenings with Jim Dine; joining Anita Reuben's gallery; her debut as a playwright; her experience writing "I am the Beautiful Stranger;" the changing public perception of her and being classified as an artist; her decision to become a painter and appropriating images for her work; the influence of S. J. Perelman on her plays; her play about Joseph Cornell and ballerina Allegra Kent, and interviewing Allegra Kent; her recent artwork and preparing for her 2017 show at Garth Greenan Gallery; her artwork from the 1980s and 1990s; her comedy writing and sense of humor. Drexler also recalls Chico Marx, Jack Newfield, Igor Youskevitch, Ivan Karp, Anita Reuben, Lucas Samaras, Richard Gilman, Al Carmines, Amiri Baraka, Barbara Ann Teer, Franz Kline, Elaine De Kooning, Bill de Kooning, Andy Warhol, Jack Kroll, Lawrence Alloway, Tom Hess, Barney Newman, Harold Rosenberg, Susan Sontag, Joe Hirshhorn, Henry Geldzahler, Donald Barthelme, Kornblee Gallery, Eva Hesse, Tom Doyle, William Klein, Marilyn Monroe, Alex Katz, Alice Neel, Basquiat, Saturday Night Live, and Lenny Bruce, among others.
Biographical / Historical:
Rosalyn Drexler (1926- ) is a sculptor, playwright, and novelist in New York, New York. Christopher Lyon (1949- ) is a writer in Brooklyn, New York.
This interview is part of the Archives of American Art Oral History Program, started in 1958 to document the history of the visual arts in the United States, primarily through interviews with artists, historians, dealers, critics and administrators.