Section One

Zoomify requires Flash Player 9; if unable to zoom into image, download the latest Flash Player
Grace Jones/Nightclubbing
Grace Jones
Unidentified artist, c. 1981

Singer-performer Grace Jones firmly established her signature androgynous look with this iconic image advertising her 1981 Nightclubbing album and subsequent concerts. With her taut, slim body, gleaming dark skin, square-cut hair, and broad-shouldered masculine jacket with the plunging neckline, Jones satirized gender and racial stereotypes with a fashion-conscious theatricality that became part of her performance. The bold yellow background of the poster sets off the dark, gender-bending silhouette and underscores her sometimes confrontational style.

Jones had been a successful model in Paris and then part of Andy Warhol’s circle and the disco dance scene of New York. Her cross-dressing, use of the body, and sexualized performance all echo the complex exploitation and subversion of stereotypes by African American performer Josephine Baker in 1920s Paris. Jones’s sleek, trend-setting look echoes the African-inspired geometric stylization of Baker’s day, as well as the minimalist aesthetic of her own.