Diane Torr was a performance artist working in dance, drag king performance, installation, film and video. Download Diane’s complete resume here.
Originally from Aberdeen, Scotland, after graduating from Dartington College of Arts, England, Diane moved to New York in 1976. Over 30 years, Diane Torr developed her artistic career as an integral part of New York’s lively downtown art scene. During that time, Diane created over 35 original performance works, videos and installations, and her work was presented in downtown spaces such as Franklin Furnace, The Kitchen and also in New York clubs including The Mudd Club and Danceteria. Her performances have been seen internationally at venues and festivals such as an-de-werf Festival, Utrecht and Migros Museum, Zurich. She is a fellow of the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program and in 2003, she gained a Masters Degree in Fine Art from the Milton Avery Graduate School, Bard College, New York.
Diane Torr lived and worked between Glasgow, Berlin and New York. She was a visiting lecturer at Glasgow School of Art, Stockholm University of Arts and Freie Universität Berlin. Diane was considered a physical philosopher – a thinker of the body. She had extensive research, knowledge and practice of several areas of body knowledge: the Japanese martial art of aikido in which she had a 3rd degree blackbelt from New York Aikikai; somatic dance forms such as Contact Improvisation, Release Technique and Movement improvisational techniques; body mechanics including kinesiology and postural alignment; and bodywork such as shiatsu massage therapy and touch-for-health. Diane was best-known internationally as one of the pioneers of “drag king” performance (female-to-male drag).
In 2002, she co-directed and co-curated, together with Berlin artist, Bridge Markland, the godrag! Festival at Tacheles, Berlin. This was a groundbreaking, and now legendary, one-month long international festival of women performing masculinity, femininity and androgyny. For over 20 years, Diane taught her renowned Man-for-a-Day workshop across Europe and North America, and in Brasilia, Istanbul and New Delhi. Her performance Drag Kings and Subjects and Man-for-a-Day workshop feature prominently in the documentary film Venus Boyz (2002).
Diane wrote a book about her work co-authored by Stephen Bottoms. Sex, Drag and Male Roles; Investigating Gender as Performance, was published by University of Michigan Press in October 2010. For news and upcoming events, visit Diane’s blog page.
Diane Torr passed away peacefully on May 31, 2017 in Glasgow. You may read her obituaries here.