New York

Anonymous, Untitled, ca. 1930s–1950s, graphite and colored pencil on brown wrapping paper, 11 × 8". From “EPHEMERAMA: Hollywood”.

Anonymous, Untitled, ca. 1930s–1950s, graphite and colored pencil on brown wrapping paper, 11 × 8". From “EPHEMERAMA: Hollywood”.

“EPHEMERAMA: Hollywood”

Shelter

“EPHEMERAMA: Hollywood” presents a collection of anonymous amateur drawings of women from the first half of the twentieth century—an archive of unsolved mysteries from an estate-liquidation sale in Southern California. They are unsigned and undated (although the names of legendary actresses, such as Lucille Ball, Yvonne De Carlo, and Vivien Leigh, are written on some). Forty-seven of these headshot-like portraits, from a set of more than one hundred, are exhibited by Shelter online. Researchers at the gallery have begun the process of trying to identify each face. They have located some source materials for these pictures, such as old magazine covers and advertisements. The presentation also functions as a critique of the racist industry that contrived the edicts of white female stardom. The project is commendable, but Shelter’s investigation may never fully unlock the enigma of these

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