Mary Ellen Mark, Old Women in Black, Las Vegas, 1991

Mary Ellen Mark (American, b. 1941), Old Woman in Black, Las Vegas, 1991

Mary Ellen Mark (American, b. 1941), Old Women in Black, Las Vegas, 1991. Gelatin Silver Print, 13 7/8 x 10 15/16 in. Gift of Dr. Kristaps J. Keggi, 1993.89

Four aged women pose as Vegas showgirls, putting on the ritz with confidence and defiance. Enacting what queer theorist Elizabeth Freeman calls “temporal drag” to demonstrate the pull of the past on the present, these women play across the conventional boundaries of gender and generation. They re-perform the image of “old women in black” in a sequined drag of black-tie vestments before another image within the image. Posed in a row two by two, the chorus line parts to expose a photograph of the pope in his shimmering regalia.