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The LBD Escapades

Performance artist Ana Teresa Fernández makes political statements while dressed to kill.

Erasing the Border (Borrando la Frontera)


Performance artist and painter Ana Teresa Fernández takes the expression “try doing it in heels” literally. Whether she’s painting a section of a border wall in Mexico or ironing her hair, Fernández does so in her signature strapless black minidress. She’ll don the ensemble again for this month’s show at Gallery Wendi Norris, on view from March 10 to April 16. Here’s a look at some of her LBD adventures.

Back to Black
For this month’s show, Fernández wears her uniform and then goes dark—covering her limbs with black acrylic paint to call attention to the 2014 disappearance of 43 Mexican students. The trickiest part of the piece? Painting her back without getting paint on her dress.

Paint It Blue
To paint the border wall, in Tijuana in 2011, Fernández spent five hours on a rickety 18-foot-tall ladder in her pumps—and almost 45 minutes talking her way out of being arrested by the federales: “The police were yelling, ‘Get down,’” she recalls. 

Virgin Territory
Fernández rode a horse through a Mexican sinkhole where Mayan virgins were once sacrificed, in the process discovering why women don’t ride in dresses anymore: “I got kicked and dragged,” she says. “But I was able to do it.”


Originally published in the March issue of San Francisco

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