Paint Me, Bitch! Portraits of Dirtwoman - 4/19

Tar painting by Matt Lively

Tar painting by Matt Lively


Doug Orleski, Matt Lively, Brad Douglas, Jen Rockwell, Noah Scalin, Catherine Venable, Doug Dobey, Alice McCabe, David Freed


This exhibition features portraits of Richmond’s beloved Dirtwoman. Born Donnie Corker in 1951 in Richmond’s Oregon Hill, Corker was openly gay in Richmond long before the gay rights movement gained national momentum. Corker became famous locally for his total irreverence for social boundaries and expectations. He received his notorious nickname after defecating in a police car in protest of his arrest. 

Dirtwoman was a cross-dresser, public figure, drag performer, mayoral candidate, sex worker, philanthropist and outlaw performance artist. He was outrageously judgemental, incredibly sweet, completely vulgar, totally open, ridiculously insensitive, unapologetically queer, deeply politically incorrect, caring, and completely drunk. 

Dirtwoman’s shameless, Dionysian persona was a muse to generations of Richmond artists, and continues to shape the creative personality of the city. 

Donnie passed away in September 2016 at the age of 65. The portraits on display here are a tribute to his legacy and his impact on the city’s artists.