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Gracie Mansion Gallery

When Joanne Mayhew-Young renamed herself after the official residence of the mayors of New York, she joined the likes of John Sex, Patti Astor, and Lydia Lunch, individuals who hoped that an aggressively self-conscious sense of difference could vanquish the mundane aspects of life by making the whole of it art. The East Village was a magical site for radical self-invention, where one’s idiosyncratic contribution to the creative moment stood in for any actual personal history, and Gracie Mansion was the queen of the scene.

Mansion’s forays into art-dealing were absurdist sendups of the gallery establishment. In 1981, motivated by the difficulties of finding a gallery interested in her and her friends as well as by her experiences working at a SoHo space, she hired a limousine with mail artist Buster Cleveland and Sur Rodney (Sur), her lifelong coconspirator. In the “Limo Show,” the trio

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