Fresno Beehive

Joan Quinn’s glamorous life in photos

David Hockney and Joan Quinn dressed for a ball (using San Francisco Opera clothing).
David Hockney and Joan Quinn dressed for a ball (using San Francisco Opera clothing). Special to The Bee

Occasionally – rarely – I bump into someone who manages to be both a person and a personality. That’s how I describe Joan Agajanian Quinn, the subject of a fascinating exhibition at the Fresno Art Museum. The show features 50 portraits of Quinn, a noted Los Angeles-area art patron and a former writer for Andy Warhol’s Interview magazine. The paintings and sculptures are by such famed artists as Robert Mapplethorpe, David Hockney and Jean-Michel Basquiat. From my Sunday Spotlight column:

“In the beginning, I didn’t like to see myself,” Quinn says of the tradition that started 40 years ago when artists began giving her portraits. “But then I looked at it as if I was a bowl of flowers, and I was a subject that everyone then wanted to paint or sculpt in their own style. So you lose your vanity. No vanity involved. You don’t know what you’re going to turn out to be.”

In Sunday’s print edition, we only had room to use one photo from Quinn’s glamorous past, which includes friendships with some of the biggest art names in the past 40 years. That’s why I wanted to use more online. If you click through the gallery above, you’ll find Quinn with Hockney, Warhol, Zandra Rhodes, Rupert Smith, Philip Johnson and Robert Rauschenberg – along with such pop-culture names as Divine, Larry Hagman and Dennis Hopper. What a person! She is warm, smart and has a zeal for art and life. I appreciated the opportunity to get to know her. Fresno’s museum has a fine friend, indeed.

At right, you’ll find a photo of me and Quinn in our walk-through of the museum.

Special thanks to Joan’s daughter, Amanda Quinn Olivar, for providing these fascinating photos.