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27 September 2008

Greer Lankton (1958 – 1996) artist.

Greg Lankton was the third child of a Presbyterian minister in Flint, Michigan. As a child, Greg made dolls, played dress-up and was like other girls. He was also raped by his grandfather.

His family preferred a daughter to a gay son, and proposed a sex change. Greer was rejected by several sex-change doctors, but his mother found a surgeon who would do it. It was paid for with financial help from the father’s church congregation. However within a year Greer regretted the surgery and attempted suicide, although after recovery she did continue as female.

In 1987 she married her long-time boyfriend, Paul Monroe, also an artist, with her father as the minister, and Teri Toye as the bridesmaid. She and Paul experimented with drugs. She was a successful New York artist making dolls, sculptures and drawings. She worked with Jim Henson of Sesame Street. She was featured in the Whitney Biennial and the Venice Biennial of 1995.

Her last showing was in “It’s all about ME, Not You” at the Andy Warhol Mattress Factory in Pittsburgh. Among her works is a sad-faced bust of Candy Darling; a sculpture of a toddler-hermaphrodite giving birth to twins, and an emaciated near-life-sized Sissy Boy.

She was raped during the preparation for the Pittsburgh show, and died of a drug overdose shortly afterwards.


  1. The Mattress Factory in Pittsburg has written to say:

    Thanks so much for posting about Greer Lankton and linking to the Mattress Factory website. Just a small note of correction: the Mattress Factory has no affiliation with Andy Warhol or the Andy Warhol museum.

    Also, the Mattress Factory will be making Greer's 1996 piece (It's All About ME, Not You) part of the museum's permanent collection. We are currently rehabing a new exhibition space where the piece will be on view beginning in late-2009 or 2010.

  2. Greatest artist EVER

  3. Greer was actually my next door neighbor on Bryer Street in Chicago from June 1992-June 1993. She lived three doors down from me on the second floor and I used to see her Jane's Addiction, "Nothing's Shocking" styled dolls in the window. I did not meet her until the day I moved out, a year to the day, as she was the only one on the floor who'd let me use the phone. She showed me her photo books of her NY life and stories of drag queens, Dee-Lite and the NY scene she rant with. She told me how she ended up in Chicago and why she survived when no one else did (she was afraid of needles). There's a sad irony to all of this and I really wish I'd have purchased that doll that I saw in her window every day, the Siamese Twins in blue jackets. Does anyone know where you can get her work? If I know better, my thought is some idiot probably just threw them out when they cleaned out her Chicago apartment. RIP Greg/Greer. And thanks for being kind enough to help me out of a jam when no one else in the building would.

  4. I've just discovered Greer....wish I'd known about her sooner. Love her work, and such a sad life story. Rest in peace.


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