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  • David McDiarmid: A Short History of Facial Hair|Photo: Bedsheet Paintings, 1983/4, and Fabric Painting in Paua Shell Design for Fashion Designer Linda Jackson|Image portrays blues light room with a person with there back to the camera in elaborate painted tribal style wrap around clothing with neon brushed on pattern

    David McDiarmid: A Short History of Facial Hair|Photo: Bedsheet Paintings, 1983/4, and Fabric Painting in Paua Shell Design for Fashion Designer Linda Jackson, Photography by Francois Perez, 1984

  • David McDiarmid: A Short History of Facial Hair|David McDiarmid, Facial Hair from Trade Enquiries, 1978| Imagery shows 3 lines of 3 rows of hand drawn images

    David McDiarmid: A Short History of Facial Hair|Artwork: David McDiarmid, Facial Hair from Trade Enquiries, 1978| Lead Graphic

  • David McDiarmid: A Short History of Facial Hair|Artwork: David McDiarmid, Poster Design for Candlelight AIDS Memorial Rally, Sydney, 1992| Poster art work reflects graphic title: is

    David McDiarmid: A Short History of Facial Hair|Artwork: David McDiarmid, Poster Design for Candlelight AIDS Memorial Rally, Sydney, 1992

  • David McDiarmid: A Short History of Facial Hair|Photo: DavidMcDiarmid, Photographer Unknown, 1986| Photograph in colour of bearded man wearing sunglasses and metalic outfit

    David McDiarmid: A Short History of Facial Hair|Photo: DavidMcDiarmid, Photographer Unknown, 1986

  • David McDiarmid: A Short History of Facial Hair|Photo: David McDiarmid, Photographer Unknown, Melbourne, c. 1972- image portrays two men smiling with poster above stating

    David McDiarmid: A Short History of Facial Hair|Photo: David McDiarmid, Photographer Unknown, Melbourne, c. 1972

  • David McDiarmid: A Short History of Facial Hair|Photo: David McDiarmid, Photography by C. Moore Hardy, 1993- photo of man in 3 piece suit stood up against wall with cigarette in hand

    David McDiarmid: A Short History of Facial Hair|Photo: David McDiarmid, Photography by C. Moore Hardy, 1993

  • David McDiarmid: A Short History of Facial Hair|Photo: David McDiarmid, Photographer Unknown, 1981- man sat under neon sign reading

    David McDiarmid: A Short History of Facial Hair|Photo: David McDiarmid, Photographer Unknown, 1981

  • David McDiarmid: A Short History of Facial Hair|Photo: Exhibition Installation View, David McDiarmid- Photo shows a dark room with screen running video footage

    David McDiarmid: A Short History of Facial Hair|Photo: Exhibition Installation View, David McDiarmid

  • David McDiarmid: A Short History of Facial Hair|Photo of Exhibition Installation View: Image shows a poster with the text:

    David McDiarmid: A Short History of Facial Hair|Photo of Exhibition Installation View: I want a future that lives up to my past, David McDiarmid

  • David McDiarmid: A Short History of Facial Hair|Photo: Exhibition Installation View: Image shows a vibrant orange wall meeting a bold blue wall with framed posters on each wall

    David McDiarmid: A Short History of Facial Hair|Photo: Exhibition Installation View: square framed posters

David McDiarmid: A Short History of Facial Hair

16 September–29 October 2011

David McDiarmid (1952–95) was an artist, DJ, graphic designer, fashion designer and queer political activist. He was born in Australia and lived and worked in Sydney before moving to New York, where he worked from 1979 until 1987. He died in Sydney of HIV/AIDS-related illness in 1995.

In 1993 McDiarmid wrote and performed an essay, accompanied by 35mm colour slides, entitled A Short History of Facial Hair, in which he pulled together his personal fashion, grooming and adornment story, and his political and sexual history, representing a twenty-year period of his life and times.

Beautiful, hard-hitting and humorous, A Short History of Facial Hair is an interrogation of McDiarmid’s appearance as it changes from hippie to clone to gay liberation activist, sexual revolutionary, hustler, dancefloor diva and, ultimately, to HIV-positive queer subject – his self-styled ‘Toxic Queen’.

He traces how gay politics changed during what he described as ‘an extraordinary time of redefinition and deconstruction of our identities from camp to gay to queer’. The work explores links between art, identity, politics, dress and adornment.

A Short History of Facial Hair has been digitised and recreated as a film by Fashion Space Gallery, directed by Hermano Silva. Silva is a Brazilian photographer, who lives and works in Berlin. He is a graduate of the MA programme in Fashion Photography at London College of Fashion. A Short History of Facial Hair was screened in conjunction with a display of McDiarmid’s Rainbow Aphorisms – a suite of fierce and seductive digital artworks created in 1994–5.

David McDiarmid: A Short History of Facial Hair was curated by Dr Sally Gray, University of New South Wales, Sydney, and Magdalene Keaney.