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Greer Lankton

By the night I photographed Greer Lankton at the opening of her second show at Civilian Warfare, I’d known her for years. I met her in the late ’70s when she first arrived in New York, from Chicago, and though still in her early twenties, she had already created some significant pieces, like her huge cloth pregnant hermaphrodite giving birth, made after having a dream in which she gave birth to herself—a dream that might be said to presage her entire life and work. Born the youngest son of a Presbyterian minister, her father’s church paid for her sex change, and Greer spent the rest of her life constantly transforming her own body and the bodies of her dolls. The consuming theme of her life and work was sexuality and gender, in all their mutable permutations. According to Diego Cortez—who, in 1981, included her in P.S. 1’s “New York/New Wave,” a defining show of the downtown movement—“Greer

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