Powers To Present Edwin Lawson: Historic Fashions at The Outsider Art Fair

  • NEW YORK, New York
  • /
  • February 28, 2022

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Edwin Lawson (1911-1980); Fashions 1904; Crayon, pencil on paper; Circa: 1971; 17 1/2" x 23 1/2"
Steven S. Powers
Edwin Lawson (1911-1980); Fashions 1887; Crayon, pencil on paper; Circa: 1977; 17 1/2" x 23 1/2"
Steven S. Powers

Steven S. Powers will exhibit a collection of ten works by Edwin Lawson at this year's Outsider Art Fair, March 3-6, 2022 at The Metropolitan Pavilion, New York, NY

Edwin Lawson, a professor of architecture who died in 1980, left behind a cache of drawings he created in the 1970s that revealed a fantasy world his wife was unaware of. The large-scale pencil and crayon drawings illustrate Lawson  cross-dressed as a woman in historic fashions from the 1880s to the 1960s.

The works were likely personal fantasies versus actualized events. Lawson heavily worked the drawings and struggled to correct certain details that he dreamed about, like his made up eyes, lips, jewelry, and bosom. 

Edwin Lawson (1911-1980) ; Fashions 1894; Crayon, pencil on paper; Circa: 1976; 17" (w) x 22" (h)
Steven S. Powers

In the 1960s and 70s drag culture was becoming less underground. In the alternative arts and  fashion scenes, figures like Divine, music by Bowie and Bolan, and movies like The Rocky Horror Picture Show brought gender-bending more into the zeitgeist.  However, that does not mean it was mainstream and culturally safe. Lawson probably felt inspired by the drag scene but still too uncomfortable to fully manifest his sexual identity at a time when it would likely threaten his relationships and his career. 

In 2017, The Museum of Sex featured Lawson's work in Known/Unknown: Private Obsession and Hidden Desire in Outsider Art.

Steve Powers
Steven S. Powers

53 Stanton Street
New York, New York

Steve Powers is a leading dealer in American Folk and Outsider Art, and the country's top specialist in Woodlands sculpture (Northeast Native American), treen and choice antiques. We exhibit at select fine art and antiques shows throughout the year. Powers is the author two comprehensive books, North American Burl Treen: Colonial & Native American and the Woodlands volume of The Art of the Spirit World.

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