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Zoom Magnet - Rennie Ellis, Carlotta Kings Cross

Magnet - Rennie Ellis, Carlotta Kings Cross



This magnet has been designed and made exclusively for the NGV design store in celebration of the exhibition, QUEER: Stories from the NGV Collection.  
QUEER: Stories from the NGV Collection spans historical eras and diverse media, exploring queerness as an expression of sexuality and gender, a political movement, a sensibility, and as an attitude that defies fixed definition. 


Dimensions: 9cm x 6.5cm
Made in Melbourne and exclusive to NGV design store

About the artwork

Australian social documentary photographer Rennie Ellis captured the many subjects depicted in his Kings Cross series over a six-month period during the summer of 1970–71. The series is a study of place, with each image tracing beloved and often overlooked parts of the urban landscape of Kings Cross in Sydney. These include the Empire Hotel, the former site of the renowned cabaret show, Les Girls, which ran for thirty years. The show was headlined by a line-up of eleven drag queens, including Carlotta (the stage name of Carol Spencer OAM).

Donning elaborate costumes crafted from sequins, feathers and beads, Carlotta was renowned for her renditions of hits by Eartha Kitt and Shirley Bassey. In Ellis’s candid backstage photograph, Carlotta sits in front of a vanity, poised for her performance, beneath a humorous note likely written by another queen: ‘Carlotta is a piss pot and the star’.

Rennie Ellis
Australian 1940–2003
Carlotta, Kings Cross 1970–71, printed 2000
from the Kings Cross series 1971
gelatin silver photograph
37.0 x 24.0 cm (image), 40.3 x 30.4 cm (sheet)
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne Purchased, 2005
© Rennie Ellis Photographic Archive

Magnet - Rennie Ellis, Carlotta Kings Cross



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