Bruce Jackson Being There: Federman in Drag

Friday, May 31, 2013

Throughout the run of Being There: Bruce Jackson Photographs 1962-2010, the artist is sharing some of the stories behind his photographs.Being There is on view until June 16, 2013. The catalog accompanying the exhibition is available at The Museum Store at the Burchfield Penney.


This my good friend and long-time UB colleague, the novelist Raymond Federman. The occasion, as I recall, was a New Year's Eve Party at the home of Bruno Freschi, then dean of the UB School of Architecture, his wife, Vaune Ainsworth, then a graduate student in educational psychology, Leslie and Sally Fiedler, and Louis and Carla Goldberg. Lou was then dean of the UB School of Dentistry, Leslie was our colleague in the English Department and the most prominent literary critic in America, and Sally was, and is now, a poet. Someone had decided we should all come dressed as the person we most wanted to be. Diane and I came dressed as ourselves: we wore what we would ordinarily have worn to one of our gang's regular dinners. I forget about the others, but Raymond came dressed as his wife Erika: he wore her clothes, her jewelry, her makeup, even her pantyhose. In a way, it was perfect Raymond: he came as the person who loved him most and knew him best. But it was also Ray's homage to Erika. I ragged him about this outfit deep into the night. I have a lot of photographs of Ray over the years, but this is one of my favorites because it at once incorporates his looniness, his playfulness, and his dead-seriousness.