Tag Archives: Vita Sackville-West


Among other anticipated titles, the closing weekend of OUTFEST 2019 brings the Los Angeles premiere of VITA & VIRGINIA, directed by Chanya Button and co-written by Button and Eileen Atkins.

The great Elizabeth Debicki (The Night Manager, Widows, the forthcoming Burnt Orange Heresy) would seem born to play Virginia Woolf, London modernist and author of the the sex-and-gender-switching novel Orlando (1928).

The inspiration for Orlando was Vita Sackville-West (portrayed by Gemma Arterton in the film), the British poet and aristocrat who contrived to seduce Woolf, an arrangement that threatened Vita’s marriage to bisexual diplomat Harold Nicolson slightly more than Virginia’s to publisher Leonard Woolf—open marriages more common than not among their Bloomsbury set.


Saturday, July 27, at 8:30 pm.

Chinese 6

6801 Hollywood Boulevard, Los Angeles.

From top: Elizabeth Debicki (left) and Gemma Arterton in Vita & Virginia (2); Protagonist Pictures poster; Isabella Rossellini (left) as Lady Sackville, Vita’s mother and Debicki; Debicki and Arterton.


“Virginia Woolf wrote Orlando in an attitude of celebration of the oscillating nature of existence. She believed the creative mind to be androgynous. I have come to see Orlando far less as being about gender than about the flexibility of the fully awake and sensate spirit…

“Where I once assumed it was a book about eternal youth, I now see it as a book about growing up, about learning to live.” — Tilda Swinton*

ORLANDO—the Aperture exhibition inspired by Woolf and curated by Swinton—features the work of Zackary Drucker, Lynn Hershman Leeson, Paul Mpagi Sepuya, Jamal Nxedlana, Elle Pérez, Walter Pfeiffer, Sally Potter, Viviane Sassen, Collier Schorr, Mickalene Thomas, and Carmen Winant.


Through July 11.

Aperture Gallery

547 West 27th Street, 4th floor, New York City.

From top: Photographer unknown, Virginia Stephen in 1912, photograph sent to Leonard Woolf; Lynn Hershman Leeson (2), Rowlands/Bogart (Female Dominant), 1982, from the series Hero Sandwich, hand-painted collage, and Roberta Getting Ready to Go to Work ,1976, photograph of Roberta Breitmore, Leeson’s alter ego in a multiyear performance piece that lasted throughout the 1970s, both courtesy and © the artist and Bridget Donahue, New York; Mickalene Thomas (2), Untitled #3 (Orlando Series) and Untitled #4 (Orlando Series), both 2019 for Aperture, courtesy and © the artist and Yancey Richardson Gallery, New York, (Untitled #4 is a portrait of Thomas’ partner, Racquel Chevremont); Jamal NxedlanaFAKA Portraits, Johannesburg, 2019, for Aperture, courtesy and © the artist; Walter Pfeiffer, untitled, 2009, courtesy and © the artist and Art + Commerce, Artists Rights Society, New York, and ProLitteris, Zürich; Collier Schorr, untitled (Casil), 2015–18 (2), courtesy and © the artist and 303 Gallery, New York; Carmen WinantA melon, a pineapple, an olive tree, an emerald, a fox in the snow, 2019, for Aperture, courtesy and © the artist, (artwork incorporates a photograph of Woolf’s lover Vita Sackville-West); Zackary DruckerRosalyne, 2019, for Aperture, courtesy and © the artist and Luis De Jesus, Los Angeles.


In conjunction with Aperture‘s Virginia Woolf-inspired ORLANDO exhibition and edition, Tilda Swinton—currently co-starring in Joanna Hogg‘s brilliant new film The Souvenir—and B. Ruby Rich will talk about “images and writings that celebrate gender fluidity, curiosity, and life without limits.”*


Wednesday, May 29, at 6:30 pm.

New York Public Library, Celeste Bartos Forum

476 Fifth Avenue (at 42nd Street), New York City.

Virginia Woolf‘s 1928 novel Orlando—inspired by her lover Vita Sackville-West—was made into a 1992 film written and directed by Sally Potter, starring Tilda Swinton, Quentin Crisp, and Jimmy Somerville.

From top: Tilda Swinton (left), in the title role of Orlando, with Quentin Crisp as Queen Elizabeth I; Virginia Woolf; Vita Sackville-West; Aperture 235, Summer 2019 issue; Swinton in Orlando. Images courtesy and © the artists, filmmakers, and publishers.