Celebrating her unique spirit and unsparing vision, Who Does She Think She Is? presents Rosalyn Drexler as both a sharp critic of and a joyful participant in American culture of the past fifty years. Born in 1926 to a Russian immigrant family in the Bronx, she grew up during the Depression raised on vaudeville and the movies, with little access to art. Her parents hoped she would make it in Hollywood. Instead, she married painter Sherman Drexler at the age of nineteen and spent the next decade as a mother and housewife seeking outlets for her own creativity, including a brief stint as a female wrestler in the early 1950s and a prolific career as an author, writing experimental novels, award-wining scripts for television, and, under a pseudonym, pulp fiction.
Stealing moments to write during her daughter’s naps and assembling sculpture in her living room, Drexler discovered her own voice as well as New York’s burgeoning art and literary worlds. Her work resonates with the cool Pop art of the 1960s, yet addresses sexual politics with unique frankness. Along with the central themes of love and violence, she explores midcentury masculinity and her often-flamboyant self-identity as a woman, writer, and artist. As Drexler has said of her multifaceted career, “I didn’t have any preconceived ideas about what I should be, or that I should only be one thing.”
Image: Rosalyn Drexler (American, born 1926). Lovers, 1963. Acrylic and paper collage on canvas, 55 ¼ x 52 inches (140.3 x 132.1 cm). Collection Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York; George B. and Jenny R. Mathews Fund, by exchange, 2016 (2016:1). © 2016 Rosalyn Drexler / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York and Garth Greenan Gallery, New York.