SAN LEANDRO, CALIFORNIA June 30, 2008 Art News
(PRLEAP.COM) San Francisco, CA – Photographer Wendy Mukluk first
exhibited her work at Harvey Milk's Castro Camera in San Francisco in
the early 1970s. An admirer of the work of Brassaï, Mukluk set out to
document The Secret San Francisco of the 70s as he had done in The
Secret Paris of the 30s. Her vintage black and white photos and
vintage color prints take us back to the gay hippie commune called
The Mad Mystical Merry Mukluks. They are available exclusively at
Members of the Mukluk commune and their friends rarely missed an
opportunity to dress up for parties, bars and shows or simply, on a
whim, to entertain themselves at home. They lived out their fantasies
through their drag. "Getting dressed in the morning," Mukluk
declared, "should be performance art."
Many of the photos record the 1973 "Years Ahead" fashion show, with
the extraordinary Art-Wear fashions of Mukluk and Cockette, Billy
Bowers. Worn by the likes of Keith Richards, Mick Jagger and Alice
Cooper, Bowers' Art-Wear creations are included in the permanent
costume collections of the Smithsonian.
Mukluk obsessively recorded the counter culture lifestyle in San
Francisco. Her photographs celebrate the playfulness, gender
confusion, theatricality and creativity that were the essence of
hippie culture of the '70s. Art historian Lionel A. Biron notes:
"They are the artistic creations of a highly skilled photographer as
well as important historical artifacts of a lost time, but most of
all they are a genuine expression of love."
"We formed bonds which still continue today; we created art, music,
dance, and theater; we came up with new ideas in interior design,
cooking, fashion, personal relationships, and attitudes about life in
general; we had wonderful times; all of which couldn't have happened
in a less free atmosphere" she recalls.
These vintage photos are a remembrance of happier times past and
perhaps, offer some lessons for the present era of fear.
Wendy Mukluk is available for comments and interviews. Here vintage
prints of the Mukluk family are available online, at Homobilia.com.