Drawn to popular culture themes and representations of gender in the mass media, Rosalyn Drexler began using pop-inspired imagery in 1961, on the heels of Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein. Drexler altered a publicity poster for the 1957 movie Jailhouse Rock depicting Elvis Presley and Judy Tyler embracing as the basis for the kissing couple in Lovers. These figures are set against a background of collaged paper that features legible snippets such as “co-starring,” “released,” “am I faris,” and “willi.” A man and a woman are seated atop this amalgamation of text. They do not interact, and their body language conveys doubt, uncertainty, and guilt. The overall composition implies that the figures in the foreground and those above may represent the same couple at two different points in their relationship: a moment of passion and one of betrayal.
Label from Giant Steps: Artists and the 1960s, June 30–December 30, 2018