Exhibition Dates: Saturday, November 14th, 2009 through Thursday, January 14, 2010
Gala Artist Reception Saturday, Nov 14th
Casa Frela Gallery presents The Art of Drag: magnificent and outrageous jewelry designed by the greatest artists of the Imperial Court, New York’s 23-year-old drag organization best known for its annual charity fundraiser Night of a Thousand Gowns. The shimmering jewelry, in this show, often too large to wear, is designed by five innovative and acclaimed designers, David Mandel, Kenneth M. Morrison, Robert J. Sorrell, Timothy Szlyk and Larry Vrba, all whom hold royal titles in the Imperial Court of New York.
The exhibition, Diamonds Are A Boy’s Best Friend: Jewelry Fit For A Queen, opens on Saturday, November 14th, 2009 and runs through Thursday, January 14, 2010.
Casa Frela will host a gala artist reception on Saturday, November 14th, 2009 from 7PM to 11PM. At the opening celebration, past monarchs from the Court's 23 year history, the reigning monarchs, and future monarchs will be present.
Diamonds Are a Boy’s Best Friend, a unique and glittering installation, consists of 150 pieces of jewelry, including necklaces, bracelets, brooches, earrings, rings and, of course, tiaras and crowns. While many of the pieces revel in camp, they also feature astonishing artistry: sensuous forms, dramatic imagery, poetic symbolism, and, always, flair. It is no surprise, that in their “day jobs,” these designers have won widespread acclaim in the worlds of fashion, theater, and film. The pieces on display in this exhibition are unique labors of love. Indeed, many were created for personal friends and acquaintances to wear at the Court’s annual Night of a Thousand Gowns, a fundraiser, which has raised over a million dollars for LGBT and HIV-related charities.
The Imperial Court of New York was founded in 1986 under the reign of Their Imperial Majesties Emperor George I and Empress I Sybil Bruncheon. Now in its 23rd year, the Court is under the monarchy of Their Most Imperial and Sovereign Majesties Emperor XVIII Tony Monteleone and Empress XXIII Anne Tique. Membership includes Lords and Ladies, Dukes and Duchesses, Princes and Princesses — all enjoying the “game” of court and royalty while raising much needed social awareness and money for deserving Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender groups, as well as AIDS-related charities, in the tri-state area.
The New York Imperial court is part of a larger international group with a storied history. In 1965, José Sarria, America’s first openly gay political candidate (for San Francisco Supervisor in 1962) founded the Imperial Court System, setting the standard for humor, heart and humanitarianism. Today there are approximately 70 Imperial Courts in the United States, Canada and Mexico. In the United States, the International Court System is one of the largest LGBT organizations, second only to the Metropolitan Community Church. The Court’s motto is: "We are glamorous. We are fun. We are everywhere"
Casa Frela Gallery acknowledges and thanks The Imperial Court of New York for giving the Gallery permission to include their organizational history. Casa Frela Gallery specially thanks artist and Court member Brian Crede for bringing together the idea, the designers and the Court to create Diamonds Are a Boy’s Best Friend. In tribute, Casa Frela Gallery will display the Court’s collection of ceremonial reigning pins from the private collections of Empress XXIII Anne Tique, Fred Frick, and Brain Crede. Lawrence Rodriguez, owner of the Casa Frela Gallery and curator of Diamonds Are a Boy’s Best Friend: Jewelry Fit For A Queen, invites you to the fabulous world of jewels that embrace diversity and glamour. Please join us for a gala opening reception on Saturday, November 14th, 2009 from 7PM to 11PM. Diamonds Are a Boy’s Best Friend will then runs to Thursday, January 14th, 2010. Casa Frela Gallery is located at 47 West 119th Street (between Lenox Avenue and Fifth Avenue) in Manhattan, New York.