NOTICE: All stories in this OPINIONS section was submitted by members of the general public and are the personal opinions of individuals on certain current affairs and topics and NOT necessarily the view of Queerlife.co.za and its staff. -- Should you wish to voice an opinion on a specific subject you may submit it HERE.

4Men - Opinions

Letters and opinions from concerned male South African citizens on current affairs and issues affecting us all

Billy Doll Part Of Gay History

Billy Doll Part Of Gay History

By John McKitterick and Juan Andres

The newly launched official website thebillyconcept.com illustrates completely the Billy phenomenon with images and text, documenting the history of the Billy concept from the years 1993 to 2003.

It is over twenty years since Billy was first exhibited as a sculpture at a London Arts Benefit for Aids in November 1994, in what was a highly politicised period in gay history. A conceptual artwork created by artists John McKitterick and Juan Andres, the Billy concept championed diversity, gay visibility, safe sex and Aids awareness. Originally 1200 limited editions of the Billy sculpture were created, garnering media attention on all five continents, in 32 countries and in ten languages.

Following the great success of the sculpture, John McKitterick and Juan Andres kept firmly to the original concept and three years later Billy was purposely introduced to the mass market as Billy – The World’s First Out and Proud Gay Doll. Over the next decade Billy became the world’s first and most famous, gay product, a beautifully executed, technically advanced, mass produced doll, punching high above his height of 13 inches/32cms.

After his US debut in 1997 Billy instantly became a iconic figure and saw himself in over 800 stores worldwide and the Billy concept developed to include his own website ‘Billyworld’, his boyfriend Carlos, his best friend Tyson, the soda ‘Billy Pop’, the music CD ‘Out and About With Billy’, himself dressed by Alexander McQueen and sixty five other designers and artists for the major exhibition and auction ‘Billy Opens His Closet’ at The New Museum of Contemporary Art in Soho, New York, the movies ‘Billy 2000 - Billy Goes Hollywood’ and ‘Jeffrey’s Hollywood Screen Trick’, the photographic book and exhibition ‘Big Fun With Billy’, himself in the Andy Warhol Museum and the Keith Haring Foundation, himself in the Science Museum’s permanent exhibit ‘Making The Modern World’ and himself as ‘16 Feet Billy’ in an art exhibition in London.

Billy was honoured alongside Lady Diana, Ellen DeGeneres and Elton John as one of the ’12 People of 1997’. With a single event in 1998 he raised over $425,000 for a major AIDS charity and articles have been written in major publications such as The Sunday Times, The New York Times, Time Magazine, The Guardian and El Pais, acknowledging Billy as a cultural phenomenon.

By 2004 John McKitterick and Juan Andres believed that the Billy concept had succeeded in its aims and objectives and began work on new art projects. Today Billy is highly sought after with editions commanding considerable prices at exhibition and auction. After six years in the jungles of Central America researching and developing new artworks, John McKitterick and Juan Andres returned to Europe to continue their art practice using the artistic name ‘oneandtwo’.

Their most recent work can be seen on their website oneandtwo.eu

Join us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Keep up with us on Pinterest Join our Google Plus circle Join us on Tumblr