Greer Lankton

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Greer with dolls by Nan Goldin (?)

I came across Greer Lankton when googling about Candy Darling. Her freak-dolls immediately caught my eye and her doleful, forlorn appearance attracted me more to her (I can’t help it; it’s my nature to be interested in sad people). I quickly found out (thank you Google and Wikipedia!) that she grew up in a Presbyterian family and was born as Greg Lankton. Despite her family’s religion her father (a minister nonetheless!) paid for her sexual reassignment surgery when she was 21. Greg, naturally, got teased as a child for being too feminine and it seems she escaped in her own world by making dolls. She started making her dolls at the age of ten and started taking it seriously at around seventeen. Her transexuality has influenced her work immensely and most of her dolls resemble in one way or another. It seems as if every doll is another piece of her character. Other than that she also made dolls of Candy Darling, Patti Smith, Divine, Diana Vreeland and other heroes of her.

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Her work was so visceral, so exposed, that I once told her it was like an operation without anesthesia.- Nan Goldin

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(The doll on the left is Divine)

I’d like to add that Greer reminds me of Louise Bourgeois with her doll making and ostentatious way of trying to rid traumas by her art. But Mrs. Lankton does it so sensitively that her work surpasses by far anything that Louise has ever done. (For me at least.)

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(The image on the right is of a doll inspired by Diane Vreeland)

Greer was also a muse to other artists such as Peter Hujar (yes, again) and Nan Goldin.

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Greer by Nan Goldin

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Greer’s legs by Peter Hujar

Greer, sadly, struggled with anorexia and drug addiction for many years and eventually died on November 18, 1996, of an overdose.

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Greer by Peter Hujar