NEW YORK CITY—Linda Lovelace has been gone for just over a decade, but she continues to make news, whether because of the flawed biopic Lovelace, the recently closed play The Deep Throat Sex Scandal, the upcoming release of the revised The Complete Linda Lovelace by Eric Danville ... or the new exhibit of early Lovelace photos that's about to open on Monday at NYC's Museum of Sex.
According to a story published yesterday in The Daily Mail (UK), Lovelace posed for fine-art photographer Milton H. Greene several times between 1973, shortly after Deep Throat was released, and 1974, when Joe Sarno's softcore Deep Throat 2 saw the light of day. After Greene's death, however, his collection of images became the property of Greene's son, Joshua, who's spent the past seven years restoring his father's collection of more than 60,000 portraits of such stars as Doris Day, Catherine Deneuve, Lauren Hutton, Audrey Hepburn, Leslie Caron ... and the roughly 2,000 that feature Linda Lovelace.
Along the way, Joshua Greene developed a partnership with Yuliya and Kevin Mattei, proprietors of the YK Gallery, Inc., to mount an exhibition of 28 newly restored portraits of Lovelace, both dressed and undressed, titled "The Eve of Porn: Linda Lovelace," at the Museum of Sex beginning Monday, December 9.
The Daily Mail published several of the images that will be on display, and taken together, they give credence to Kevin Mattei's appraisal that the portraits show "a glimpse into her ambitious attempt to become a legitimate actress."
(The idea was not that strange, even in the 1970s. Before her death, Marilyn Chambers often said that the reason she agreed to act in the Mitchell Brothers' Behind the Green Door was her belief that if she did a good job, she would be offered roles in Hollywood movies—and she was, though not until five years after the hardcore movie was released.)
"These photographs alter the way people look at her," added Yuliya Mattei, of the Lovelace collection. "They show she wanted to be a superstar. ... With a scar from her breasts down to her abdomen, fully nude photographs of Linda Lovelace are virtually nonexistent."
But that's not all.
"Alongside these photographic treasures, the exhibition will feature photographs of Lovelace taken before her Deep Throat fame, including pornographic images of Linda and her husband-manager, Chuck Traynor, whom Linda asserted years later had forced her at gunpoint to perform in Deep Throat as well as earlier stag loops she was featured in," stated a Museum of Sex press release about the exhibition, apparently unaware that the alleged gun-pointing had been thoroughly debunked. "Traynor insists he is responsible for Linda’s fame, and has been quoted saying, 'There never was a Linda Lovelace. I’m Linda Lovelace. Linda Lovelace got where she got because of my brain, not because of her throat.' These and other rare photographs and ephemera on loan from Eric Danville, one of Lovelace’s biographers and the author of The Complete Linda Lovelace, help tell Linda’s complicated story."
"I'm really looking forward to finally seeing more of these photographs," stated Eric Danville, whose revised edition of The Complete Linda Lovelace will also debut at the exhibition. "Linda had told me about them, and she said these were probably her favorite portraits. I'd seen maybe two or three, so this exhibit will be a great experience not just for myself as a Linda Lovelace historian but for fans of both Linda and Milton Greene as well."
YK Gallery will also be selling several of the restored Lovelace photographs as fine art prints at the Museum's store as well as at their own gallery.
Another good reason to check out the exhibit will be the premiere there of Legs McNeil's and Alex Chmaj's documentary, Linda Lovelace's Loose Lips, which is scheduled for public release later this month. The film includes selections from Lovelace's last on-camera interview before her death in a car crash in 2002.
The Museum of Sex is located at 233 Fifth Avenue (near E. 27th Street), New York, NY 10016.
Pictured: Three images from the YK Gallery collection.