You’ve Never Seen Them Like This

“It’s no accident the Golden Girls have become icons,” argues Lenora Claire, curator of a new pop art exhibit celebrating the television show at the World Erotic Art Museum (WEAM) in Miami Beach.

“One of the reasons this show resonated with audiences is because everyone has a slutty friend, a stupid friend and a crazy mother,” she explains. “But, more importantly, the show was progressive for its time, taking on issues of the day (i.e. homosexuality, AIDS, disabilities) head on. And the amazing thing is, when you watch the episodes, they don’t seem dated at all….well, except for the clothes.”

 

But, if the public has enduring images of Dorothy, Blanche, Rose and Sophia in their minds, they have never seen the Golden Girls through the eyes of the 20 artists whose works Claire assembled for this show.

The Los Angeles-based artist and writer sought out artists who challenged the wholesome stereotypes of the show’s characters.

“It all started years ago when I found a really racy oil portrait of Bea Arthur,” she recalls. But after hanging the painting over her bed, she discovered that her male partners were so “freaked out” they wouldn’t have sex. “Old people get it on, too,” she laughs.

The unexpected reactions led Claire to seek out artists for her first show of Golden Girls art in 2007. The exhibition ended up being covered by TMZ, a Hollywood celebrity gossip Web site and television show, and soon her phone was ringing off the hook with requests for interviews from media outlets ranging from National Public Radio to the National Enquirer. The exhibit was called everything from “scandalous” to “mentally unbalanced,” but Claire ended up selling all but two works on opening night.

For her WEAM show, Claire again assembled a wide variety of interpretations of the famous foursome. The collection includes paintings, puppets and even a Tiffany-style stained glass lamp adorned with four flowers that “interpret” the vaginas of each of the characters.

The deaths of Estelle Getty (Sophia) and Arthur (Dorothy), have also contributed to the recent nostalgia about the show. Claire points out similar artworks of any of the items that might sell can be commissioned from the participating artists. She notes a particularly striking painting of Arthur on black velvet and suggests an entire set could be commissioned by adoring fans.

The Golden Girls are destined to live on the hearts of fans, but if Claire has her way, they can also occupy an honored place in fans’ homes.

Golden Girls Gone Wild
World Erotic Art Museum
1205 Washington Ave., Miami Beach
Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 12 midnight.
Tickets $15. No one under 18 admitted. For information, call (305) 532-9336 or go to WEAM.com


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