Although County’s artistic output began in experimental theater in the late 1960s-early ‘70s, including work with Theater of the Ridiculous and in Andy Warhol’s Pork, she is perhaps most well-known as a rock singer and performer. This exhibition takes its title from one of County’s songs, Paranoia Paradise, which she famously performed as the character of “Lounge Lizard” in Derek Jarman’s 1978 film, Jubilee. Selections of her earliest known paintings and works on paper made in the early ‘80s while living in Berlin will be exhibited alongside works made up until the present, with approximately eighty pieces on view from County’s studio as well as several private collections. A presentation of related ephemeral materials from County’s archive, as well as photographs by Bob Gruen, Leee Black Childers, and Michael Fox will accompany the exhibition and further illuminate her legendary contributions to music, film, performance, as well her role as forebear and gender pioneer as the first openly transgender rock performer.
County’s body of visual artwork does not fit neatly into any one category. She is a self-developed artist whose work serves as an emotional release. Her fantasies, rage, and notions of beauty erupt in works on paper and canvas with varying degrees of transparency and complexity. Her intentions are sometimes laser-focused, as is the case with her ‘rage art,’ in which she illustrates her thoughts and feelings on political figures. Her abstract works are without specific figurative or popular culture reference, yet seem to express a similar violent energy or whirlwind of volatile emotion. Much of County’s work offers a glimpse into her fantasies, which are populated by creatures from other worlds and times; and her obsessions, manifested in repeated motifs such as trees bearing multiple penises and vaginas.