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ART // CELEBRITY

DEBBIE HARRY

Picture This

Singer Debbie Harry is 75 next year, and with the launch of her autobiography Face It comes a chance to assess the artistic iconography of the ultimate ‘80s rock chick BY CHRIS JENKINS

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CBGB, Blondie achieved real success in 1978 with the band’s third album Parallel Lines. Featuring a striking monochromatic cover with photography by Edo Bertoglio, the album boasted pop-tinged hits such as Picture This, Hanging on the Telephone and Heart of Glass. If the band’s blend of rock, punk, pop and disco caught the attention of the music critics, the public and the art world were entranced by Harry herself, an ethereal yet somehow grounded figure with an angelic face surrounded by a halo of blonde hair, best displayed with massive backlighting and in a short skirt.

INTERVIEW Inevitably this meteoric rise to fame captured the attention of pop artist Andy Warhol, and in 1979, Debbie Harry graced his celebritycentred magazine Interview on a cover designed and painted by Richard Bernstein from a photograph by Barry McKinley. Harry made frequent appearances on Warhol’s cable TV shows, once appearing in a head-to-toe Day-Glo camouflage outfit inspired by Warhol’s camouflage paintings, which she insisted he sign while on her body. Of Warhol, she recalled in an interview with Sotheby’s’ Cheyenne Westphal: “We crossed paths. New York had an active street life—it

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rom Andy Warhol to H.R. Giger, singer Debbie Harry’s punky look has been co-opted by the art world as iconic of the glossy, perhaps superficial 1980s. Now nearing 75 years of age and still working as a singer and actress, Harry has produced her first volume of autobiography, Face It, and continues to feature in the neonlit fantasies of pop artists. After working as a Playboy bunny, a go-go dancer and a waitress in New York club Max’s Kansas City, Debbie Harry emerged from the sleaze and sweat of the ‘70s punk scene as lead singer of New Wave band, Blondie. Through playing at iconic clubs including

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Profile for Magazine

Arts and Collections Volume 2-2019  

Cover feature Debbie Harry: Picture This examines the iconic singer’s influence on pop art and artists from Andy Warhol to HR Giger, while w...

Arts and Collections Volume 2-2019  

Cover feature Debbie Harry: Picture This examines the iconic singer’s influence on pop art and artists from Andy Warhol to HR Giger, while w...