The artist cross-dresses.
by Self-Portrait of the Artist
It was roughly in the same years that Robert Mapplethorpe and Andy Warhol shot their self-portraits in cross-dressing.
In his 1980-82 series, Warhol chose an extreme make-up (the white foundation almost clownish) and different wigs of unnaturalistic colours, plus an ironic diva expression — but he downplayed the “artistic” conception by shooting the pictures on a prosaic Polaroid (which thirty years later we would all unconsciously imitate on Instagram).
On the other hand, Mapplethorpe (1980) went for a natural hair style and a more sober make-up — his pose at once more artistically self-conscious and less affected.
(Both also chose androgynous elements — contrasting male and female accessories such as the tie vs the wig in Warhol and the male shirt vs the fur in Mapplethorpe.)
My preference (for all it matters) instinctively goes to Mapplethorpe’s 1980 self-portrait below. The role of make-up is more baffling, not as self-consciously parodying as Andy Warhol’s and not quite advocating for the persuasiveness of the cross-dressing. Staring straight at the camera and bare-chested, the artist is more vulnerable and exposed than Warhol would ever find it in him to be.