Friday, 1 February 2013


'Montezland' exhibition by Conrad Ventur at Rokeby

Mario Montez shot composite

Mario Montez archive photographs

Mario Montez staring in Helio Oiticica's Agripina e Roma-Manhattan, 1972

Leandro Katz, photos of Mario Montez, 1969-70

Mario Montez, dedicated to Leandro Katz, 1969

Mario Montez on the set of Andy Warhol's The Chelsea Girls, 1966, photographed by Santi Visali

screening of Jack Smith's Jungle Island, 1967, featuring Mario Montez

Mario Montez, new photographs by Conrad Ventur, 2010-2012

Mario Montez on a remake of Mario Banana, by Conrad Ventur, 2010,

Conrad Ventur next to Mario Banana, 2010

press release:
ROKEBY presents a group exhibition with Jack Smith, Conrad Ventur, Andy Warhol and others who worked with underground film star Mario Montez.

Renowned for his roles in Jack Smith's Flaming Creatures, Normal Love and No President, Montez is a legendary figure in the underground cinema and theatre scene of New York City. Most active in the ‘60's he starred in thirteen Warhol films, was a founding member of Charles Ludlam's Ridiculous Theatrical Company and played the lead in Jose Rodriguez Soltero's Lupe. In 1977 Montez retired his signature drag persona and left New York for Orlando, Florida.

Montez emerged from retirement in 2010 and subsequently began a multi-media collaboration with Conrad Ventur. Work from their ongoing project, including a selection of prints from a larger body of photographic work, will be exhibited alongside important historical works from Montez' past collaborators.

The recent photographs by Conrad Ventur are hybrids of cinematic fictions and reality. Created within the legacy of Mario Montez they reference his own debut performance as Dolores Flores in Jack Smith’s Flaming Creatures, his performance in Smith's Jungle Island, Andy Warhol’s Batman / Dracula and his original Screen Test. Framed under the banner of history and the passage of time, Ventur’s photographs and films are installed alongside historical works featuring Mario byTakahiko Iimura, Leandro Katz, Ron Rice, Jack Smith, Santi Visalli, Andy Warhol, Avery Willard and others to create a filmic narrative that connects, rewinds, recycles and repeats decades whilst simultaneously reviewing one of the remaining pivotal members of ‘60‘s underground New York within the context of the past and present.

Conrad Ventur (Seattle 1977) lives and works in New York. He recently re-staged thirteen of Andy Warhol's screen test portraits, including Montez, approximating the lighting, frame and playback speed of the originals. The work has recently been purchased by The Whitney Museum of American Art.

With Dr Gavin Butt Reader in Visual Cultures, Goldsmiths and artist Conrad Ventur

With thanks to The Jack Smith Archive and Gladstone Gallery, New York

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