elisa_rolle (elisa_rolle) wrote,

Bill Olander & Christopher Cox

Christopher Cox (1949-1990), an editor, author, actor, director, and producer, was born August 27, 1949, in Gadsden, Alabama, to Howard R. Cox, a prominent banker, and Dorothy Trusler Cox. His birth name was Howard Raymond Cox Jr., and his family and childhood friends called him Ray throughout his life. He graduated from Emma Sansom High School, as did his brother Timothy, and sisters Carol and Nancy.

In 1966, at age 16, Cox took a summer job in Washington as a page for Alabama's senator John Sparkman, and then returned to the city the summer after high school to work for two representatives, Armistead Selden and George Andrews. He attended the University of Alabama in Birmingham for two years, where he became involved in college dramatics. Dropping out at the end of his sophomore year, Cox moved to New York in hopes of a career in the theatre and never returned to college (although he did list a 1969 BA from the University of Alabama on some of his resumes). His first role was an understudy for the Mute in The Fantasticks , which he said was the only role open to him because of his Southern accent. It is not clear whether he achieved further study in theater, but ephemera in Series III, Personal Papers, indicates that he took classes at the HB Studio in New York in the fall of 1969.

Cox took Christopher as his professional name in 1970, he wrote to his friend Steven Beil, because when he went to join the Actors' Equity labor union there was a Ray Cox already enrolled. His life in the theatre included performing, directing, and writing both plays and lyrics. His primary contribution was as director of the New Play Series and the Writers Workshop at the Joseph Jefferson Theatre Company, where he produced a dozen works by young playwrights between 1974 and 1976. He performed in both Broadway and Off-Broadway shows through the 1970s before turning more to writing, editing, and photography in the 1980s. In the last decade of his life, Cox worked for publishing houses, primarily E.P. Dutton and Ballantine, and wrote freelance articles and reviews for the Soho Weekly News (published between 1974 and 1982) and other papers and magazines. His book, A Key West Companion , was issued by St. Martin's Press in 1983, and his short study of photographer Dorothea Lange was published by Aperture in 1987.

Christopher Cox, 1989, by Robert Giard
Christopher Cox was an editor, author, actor, director, and producer. Cox was affiliated with the literary group known as the Violet Quill. Cox died in 1990 from AIDS-related complications. His partner Bill had died one year earlier. William R. Olander was an art historian, museum curator, and critic. In the spring of 1986 he met Cox. Olander is probably best remembered for the installation known as "Let the Record Show (that there are many in the community of art and artists who choose not to be silent in the 1980’s)”
American photographer Robert Giard is renowned for his portraits of American poets and writers; his particular focus was on gay and lesbian writers. Some of his photographs of the American gay and lesbian literary community appear in his groundbreaking book Particular Voices: Portraits of Gay and Lesbian Writers, published by MIT Press in 1997. Giard’s stated mission was to define the literary history and cultural identity of gays and lesbians for the mainstream of American society, which perceived them as disparate, marginal individuals possessing neither. In all, he photographed more than 600 writers. (http://beinecke.library.yale.edu/digitallibrary/giard.html)
Cox was affiliated with a literary group known as the Violet Quill (or, as he wrote in his diary on March 31, 1980, the Lavender Quill), whose seven members, men writing for men, are regarded as one of the strongest collective voices of the gay male experience in the post-Stonewall era. Authors Robert Ferro, Michael Grumley, Andrew Holleran, Felice Picano, Edmund White, George Whitmore, and Cox, met several times in 1979, 1980, and 1981 to read aloud from and discuss their works in progress, as well as those by their friends. Also on their agenda were discussions of how they could work together to promote recognition, acceptance, and publication of gay literature beyond the boundaries of their own community. Within ten years Ferro, Grumley, and Whitmore had died from AIDS-related complications, as did Christopher Cox on September 7, 1990. He was 41 years of age. His partner, William R. Olander, an art historian, museum curator, and critic, had died on March 18, 1989, always from AIDS-related complications.

Though he left Alabama in 1969, the place and the people were never far from Cox's mind, and both regularly appear as central motifs in his stories. The early deaths of his uncle Roy (by suicide in 1956) and his mother (from cancer in 1975) were also significant events in his life and became focal points in his writings. One important job that Cox held was as a secretary to composer Virgil Thomson, from March 1975 through 1977. In his position, he arranged and cataloged Thomson's correspondence and music manuscripts prior to their transfer to Yale University; in turn, the job gave him immediate access to the people in Thomson's circle, and to his neighbors in the Chelsea Hotel where Cox would eventually live as well. Thomson composed his portrait, "Christopher Cox: Singing a Song," in 1981.

In his script for "Neurotic Moon," a 1978 video piece, Cox described the job of Christopher, his main character, as a secretary for "an old, established and famous composer assembling the man's correspondence and musical manuscripts for donation to a large library." About Christopher, he wrote, "What he is doing is putting together the pieces of this man's life while his life is falling to pieces." The number of semi-autobiographical (and outright autobiographical) writings that Christopher Cox left at his death, nearly all of which were incomplete and unpublished, reveal that though many pieces of his life were complex and difficult, they were also an asset as a resource from which he drew to write openly about the gay community, as well as the world he left behind in the South.

Source: http://drs.library.yale.edu:8083/HLTransformer/HLTransServlet?stylename=yul.ead2002.xhtml.xsl&pid=beinecke:coxc&query=christopher cox&clear-stylesheet-cache=yes&hlon=yes&filter=&hitPageStart=1

William R. Olander (July 14, 1950 - March 18, 1989), partner of Christopher Cox, was an art historian, museum curator, and critic. Born in Virginia, Minnesota, on July 14, 1950, he attended Northwestern University, where he studied with Jack Burnham, and received a Ph.D. in art history from New York University's Institute of Fine Arts in 1983. His dissertation, Pour Transmettre À La Postérité: French Painting and Revolution, 1774-1795 , was guided by the noted art historian Robert Rosenblum. After internships at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Toledo Museum of Art, Olander was appointed curator of modern art at the Allen Memorial Museum at Oberlin College; he held that position from 1979 to 1984, and served as the museum's acting director in his last two years there. On January 1, 1985, he became curator at the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York, and met Christopher Cox in the spring of 1986. Olander was senior curator at the New Museum when he died from AIDS-related complications on March 18, 1989.

In addition to organizing exhibitions at both museums during his years there, Olander served as a guest curator, juror, or catalogue essayist for shows in many other venues. Among his exhibitions were the Allen Memorial Museum's New Voices series: 6 Photographers (1981) and Women and the Media: New Video (1984); Drawings: After Photography (circulated by Independent Curators Incorporated, 1984); Fake (The New Museum, 1987); and retrospectives of the work of artists May Stevens (New Museum, 1988), Edgar Franceschi (El Museo Del Barrio, 1988), and Janet Cooling (Beacon Street Gallery, Chicago, 1989). He wrote, as well, numerous exhibition and book reviews, and presented papers at academic institutions and conferences on the topics of French painting, new media, photography, and postmodern theory. Particularly interested the work of women and other marginalized artists, Olander often incorporated social and political statements, performance art, video, film, and photography into his exhibition programs.

William Olander is probably best remembered for his activist work within the art world, particularly for his invitation to the collectivist organization ACT UP/NY (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power, New York) to fill the main show window of the New Museum's building at 583 Broadway. Unveiled on November 20, 1987, the landmark installation is known as "Let the Record Show…," after Olander's statement in the accompanying brochure: "Let the record show that there are many in the community of art and artists who chose not to be silent in the 1980s." The display incorporated a bold neon sign stating "SILENCE = DEATH," which brought the group's slogan to a wider public awareness.

Source: http://drs.library.yale.edu:8083/HLTransformer/HLTransServlet?stylename=yul.ead2002.xhtml.xsl&pid=beinecke:coxc&query=christopher cox&clear-stylesheet-cache=yes&hlon=yes&filter=&hitPageStart=1

Days of Love: Celebrating LGBT History One Story at a Time by Elisa Rolle
Paperback: 760 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (July 1, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1500563323
ISBN-13: 978-1500563325
CreateSpace Store: https://www.createspace.com/4910282
Amazon (Paperback): http://www.amazon.com/dp/1500563323/?tag=elimyrevandra-20
Amazon (Kindle): http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MZG0VHY/?tag=elimyrevandra-20

Days of Love chronicles more than 700 LGBT couples throughout history, spanning 2000 years from Alexander the Great to the most recent winner of a Lambda Literary Award. Many of the contemporary couples share their stories on how they met and fell in love, as well as photos from when they married or of their families. Included are professional portraits by Robert Giard and Stathis Orphanos, paintings by John Singer Sargent and Giovanni Boldini, and photographs by Frances Benjamin Johnson, Arnold Genthe, and Carl Van Vechten among others. “It's wonderful. Laying it out chronologically is inspired, offering a solid GLBT history. I kept learning things. I love the decision to include couples broken by death. It makes clear how important love is, as well as showing what people have been through. The layout and photos look terrific.” Christopher Bram “I couldn’t resist clicking through every page. I never realized the scope of the book would cover centuries! I know that it will be hugely validating to young, newly-emerging LGBT kids and be reassured that they really can have a secure, respected place in the world as their futures unfold.” Howard Cruse “This international history-and-photo book, featuring 100s of detailed bios of some of the most forward-moving gay persons in history, is sure to be one of those bestsellers that gay folk will enjoy for years to come as reference and research that is filled with facts and fun.” Jack Fritscher

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Tags: days of love, eccentric: william r. olander, essayist: christopher cox, particular voices

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