April Dawn Alison

Erin O’Toole (ed.)



Made over the course of some thirty years, the photographs in this book depict the many faces of April Dawn Alison, the female persona of an Oakland, California based photographer who lived in the world as a man. This previously unseen body of self-portraits, which was given to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in 2017, begins tentatively in 1970s in black-and-white, and evolves in the 80s into an exuberant, wildly colourful, and obsessive practice inspired by representations of women in classic film, BDSM pornography and advertising. A singular, long-term exploration of a non-public self, the archive contains photographs that are beautiful, hilarious, enigmatic, and heartbreakingly sad, sometimes all at once.

With essays by Hilton Als (American writer and theater critic for The New Yorker), Zackary Drucker (American transgender multimedia artist, LGBT activist, actress and producer of smash Amazon series Transparent) and Erin O’Toole (associate curator of photography at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art).

Vinyl covered hardback
24.5 x 27.5cm, 220 pages

ISBN: 978-1-912339-43-3
June 2019
€40 £35 $45

‘April Dawn is a shapeshifter whose moods are alternately campy and pensive, demure and kinky. In semi-narrative sequences, she dons secondary personas—maid, housewife, catalogue model, pin-up, sex slave–that are also clichés, lending her self-portraits metafictional playfulness and conceptual density‘ Art in America

‘Joy and melancholy coexist in her pictures, evidence of an exuberant inner life‘ Bookforum 

‘One gets the sense, looking at April’s beautifully composed photographs, not only that she worked hard to get it all right photographically but that she wanted to tell a story.‘ New Yorker

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