Diane Torr (1948-2017) graduated from Dartington College of Arts in England in 1976 and moved to New York to study at the Cunningham Studios. She became a trail blazer in gender activism and an integral part of the downtown art scene both as a member of DISBAND--along with MacDowell Fellows Ilona Granet, Donna Henes, and Martha Wilson--and with her own work from late 70s onwards. She was a fellow of the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program. She is best known for her performances as a male impersonator, and as a pioneer of drag king culture. Her performances and Man-for-a-Day workshops were internationally known. In 2003, Diane received her M.F.A. from Bard College and she re-situated to Glasgow, where she was a visiting lecturer at Glasgow School of Art. Her book, co-authored by Stephen Bottoms, Sex, Drag and Male Roles: Investigating Gender as Performance (2010) was published by University of Michigan Press. A feature film about her work, Man for a Day, by Berlin filmmaker, Katarina Peters premiered at the Berlinale Film Festival 2012. She toured with the filmmaker and the film to festivals and venues in Europe, South Asia, Mexico, New York, and Montreal. One of her last performances, Donald Does Dusty, received rave reviews during its run at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2015.
Diane Torr worked in the Chapman studio.
Chapman Studio was funded by Mrs. Alice Woodrough Chapman in memory of her husband, composer George Alexander Chapman. Symmetrically massed, the building is stuccoed on the exterior with a natural, unpainted cement. Its unusual half-timbered ornament consists of slender, knotty spruce poles painted a dark green color. A central, peak-roofed entrance porch appears on the north side…