Robert Gallo, aka “Lemon Boy,”was a performance artist, director and actor who staged provocative performances outside the New York Public Library, Tiffany’s and elsewhere. Later, he forewent performing on the streets for focusing his attention more on fashion and nightlife, frequenting Max’s Kansas City and Studio 54 alongside the likes of Andy Warhol, who proclaimed Gallo “more glamorous than Marlene Dietrich” with a wardrobe that “should be stored in a memory bank.” Indeed, Gallo used his costumes as part of his art to critique consumerism, challenge traditional ideas of masculinity, and defy socially acceptable public behavior. While this earned him respect among art world contemporaries, it did nothing to garner attention outside that niche. Still, Gallo was photographed by Sylvia Plachy, Peter Hujar, Anton Perich and others.
Scott Rollins will examine archival materials in Manhattan, the hamlet of Bohemia on Long Island and San Antonio, Texas and will interview colleagues of Gallo’s with the ultimate intention of creating a traveling exhibition, recreating Gallow’s costumes, and publishing a monograph about Gallo to secure his place in the performance art canon.