Family snaps

Janine Antoni, Mom and Dad, 1994

There is something scary about Janine Antoni’s portrait of her parents. They look a lot like they’ve had work done but even allowing for that slight whiff of plastic, they look a little, well, weird. Why make a picture that shows your parents looking so strange?

Looking at the whole series of pictures, all becomes clear very quickly. Antoni’s parents are made up and dressed up in the portrait; they are cross-dressing and they are playing characters. Real-life characters. The picture is as accurately titled as it is misleading: the couple in the picture are Antoni’s parents but they are playing each other.

Suddenly they look a whole lot less strange.

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