Exhibitions

Image: Johhny Dewe-Mathew

Andrew Logan’s Alternative Miss World
13 July to 21 October 2022

Leicester Gallery is proud to present Andrew Logan’s Alternative Miss World, an exhibition of sculpture, costume and printed material celebrating fifty years of the iconic countercultural pageant.

In 1972 the artist Andrew Logan hosted the first Alternative Miss World pageant at his studios in Hackney, East London. The event was for everyone, aspiring to be a celebration of equality across gender, age, race and sexuality set free in a million guises. There was even a robot winner in 1985. It became a mock beauty contest that went on over the years to be to see contestants compete in daywear, swimwear and evening wear categories but judged on the same criteria as the dogs at Crufts: poise, personality and originality.

Over fourteen editions, held roughly every four years this was a riotous celebration of inclusivity and generosity and provided a wicked antidote to the maudlin conformity of mainstream beauty pageants, most famously Miss World. The show was an explosion of creativity, building a platform and community that drew in key cultural figures from Vivien Westwood and Zandra Rhodes via Derek Jarman, David Hockney and Leigh Bowery to Little Nell and Richard O’Brien. At these early events the seeds of contemporary performance art, punk and new romantic aesthetics can be found.  

Whilst Alternative Miss World doesn’t wear its politics on its sleeve it was a beacon for tolerance and equality in an England riven by prejudice in the seventies and eighties. It’s unapologetic inclusivity and celebration of difference provided a haven in which performers and attendees were able to express themselves safely, albeit drawing he ire of the tabloids occasionally.   

Following in the tradition of Gesamtkunstwerk, actors, film makers, painters, sculptors, dancers, musicians and fashion designers all worked together to create these extraordinary shows of which Andrew Logan was host and creator.  This exhibition will show Andrew’s portraits of participants, sculptures, costume and jewellery and films and photographs documenting the chaos and wonder of Alternative Miss World since the seventies. It both celebrates fifty years since the first Alternative Miss World party and marks the gift of the Andrew Logan Archive to De Montfort University, which is now a part of the University’s  Special Collections.