It’s time to talk about all the things we don’t talk about.
I will start with myself. How do I feel? How have I always felt? Like a woman? Or like a man? How do I look? Long blonde hair, soft face, blue eyes. Thus, I am a woman. But I’ve certainly felt far from what we were previously taught to be the norm for what constitutes the FEMALE.
I’ve questioned my sexuality before.
I’ve questioned the ways I choose to express myself.
I’ve questioned why some mornings were so different than others.
And that is alright.
But today I’m here to talk about Gluck. I’ve recently came across the work of the gender-bending artist from the 1920’s. Born in London, Hannah Gluckstein came from a wealthy Jewish family. She lived an unconventional life, rejecting the traditional behavioral norms as well as her own name. She insisted on being called Gluck, nothing else. She even resigned from a respected art society after being called as “Miss Gluck”. Gluck was a pioneer in the queer world, emerging at a troubling and oppressive time for women. But she didn’t give a s i n g l e fuck. This was an androgynous, tough and incredibly brave artist, whom regularly wore man’s attire and chopped off her hair. Remember: this was the 1920’s and 1930’s. Let that sink in for a moment.
Her paintings are a genuine reflection of a life based on both love and torment. The painting “Medallion” is a depiction of Gluck along with her partner and possibly soulmate, Nesta Obermer. “Medallion” was inspired by a romantic night in 1936, when Nesta and Gluck attended a Mozart’s production and were lost inside their own love affair, dissolving into one being.
This was a woman that wanted to be known by her art and not by her gender.
How many of us want to be known by what we CREATE and not by what we are defined as?
Today, I salute Gluck.
Lords and Ladies, 1936
Photograph by Howard Coster, known as a “photographer of men” during the 1920’s. Gluck was 31 years old in this picture.