A History in Heels: Monique Jenkinson (aka Fauxnique) at the de Young

Monique Jenkinson (aka Fauxnique), a 2012 de Young Artist Fellow, is currently working in an open process format in the Kimball Education Gallery. The fundamental goals of the yearlong Artist Fellows program are to support work by artists both inside and outside of the museum, and to foster long-term relationships with those artists and their collaborating partners. In some cases, the foundation for this relationship has been long established through programs such as Friday Nights at the de Young. Case in point: Monique Jenkinson, dancer and performance artist.


Photo by Michelle Blioux

Jenkinson and Fauxnique, her drag queen alter-ego, has been stunning audiences at the de Young with colorful, creative and insightful live performances for the past five years. Jenkinson has drawn on the work of provocative fashion designers and artists, such as Vivienne Westwood and Gilbert & George. As part of her fellowship, her newest performance pieces will pull from the racks of Jean-Paul Gaultier, the aestheticism of The Cult of Beauty, and the movement and costuming of Rudolf Nureyev. As we look forward to what’s to come, we wanted to take a moment to look back at the past five years.

April 2007

In 2007 curator of costume and textile arts Jill D’Alessandro first introduced Jenkinson to the museum during the benchmark exhibition, Vivienne Westwood: 36 years in Fashion. Fauxnique collaborated with Mr. David to present an unforgettable fashion show that featured 40 drag queens.

Vivienne Westwood Stair Performance

August 2007

In the special exhibition Guise: Recent Prints by Deborah Oropallo images of contemporary women were superimposed over images of men from 17th- and 18th-century portrait paintings to investigate the seduction of power evoked by gesture and pose. In response, Jenkinson created Heroic Comportment, a performance in which she performed a series of tasks—heavy lifting, running suicides, and jumping, all while wearing 7-inch platform heels—that culminated in her ascent to the top of a pair of 4-feet high platform shoes.

Guise 4 foot high heels

Photo by David Van Virden

May 2008

In response to the fantastic world of Gilbert & George, Fauxnique and three fellow drag queens transformed themselves into the Lip-Synching Sculpture, which was a nod to Singing Sculpture, one of the duo’s most famous works.

“We each stood on a pedestal with our own sound source, these fabulous purses that hold iPods with speakers on the outside. People had to get really close to hear and we all were doing different songs. In the original Gilbert & George piece, they barely move, so my assignment to the queens was that everyone got only four gestures for the whole song. We were right next to the children’s craft table, which I loved, because what we do has so much in common with that—dress up, make-believe artistic play. So there were all of these children ambling up to look at the drag queens and they were just fascinated. I had one of my collage outfits on that night so I probably looked a lot like some of the stuff they were making at the craft table.”

Gilbert and George Performance

Photo by Daniel Kokin

February 2009

Parlor Game was a dynamic performance piece that paid homage to Yves Saint Laurent and his predilection for all things Proust. An interactive performance that used common parlor games such as charades, telephone, musical chairs and Twister, Parlour Games integrated dance choreography and inquiries from the Proust questionnaire, culminating with performers teaching museum visitors the Hustle.

Parlour Games

Photo by Parker Tilghman

February 2012

Jenkinson is currently working in the Kimball Education Gallery/Artist Studio through February 26 to share and invite visitors into her process as she creates new work. As an Artist Fellow, she is working with the support and partnership of Dancers’ Group and CounterPULSE.

On Friday night, April 27 Jenkinson and collaborators honor Jean-Paul Gaultier and nightclub culture with DJs, lectures and film. In addition, Club Some Thing’s Project Runt Over will pair models with young museum visitors acting as fashion designers to create the ultimate fashion show.

Throughout the year, Monique/Fauxnique will return to the de Young to show works-in-progress as well as finished performances, with her culminating performance premiering at CounterPULSE on November 29–December 2 and December 7–9.

For more information on Monique Jenkinson and her work, visit Artist Fellows.