Aileen King Dresser (1889–1955) was an actress-painter and Beatrice Wood's landlady, who, through Wood's introduction, was an occasional visitor to the Arenberg apartment. Years later, Wood mistakenly recalled her first name to be Arlene (she is thus identified in the artist's autobiography, I Shock Myself). Nevertheless, her name is correctly recorded in a diary kept by the artist in these years.
In Beatrice Wood's memoir, I Shock Myself, the actress cum artist recounts the events that took place after the infamous Blindman's Ball on May 25, 1917. According to Wood, several attendees returned to Walter and Louise Arensbergs' apartment, en route to Marcel Duchamp's one-room studio, located above their salon at the 33 West 67th street building, which had by 1915 become a key center of New York dada. Wood and Duchamp, together with Charles Demuth, Aileen Dresser, and Mina Loy, proceeded to wedge themselves into the narrow confines of the artist's single bed. Always the "host," remarked Wood, "Marcel . . . took the least space and squeezed himself tight against the wall, while I tried to stretch out in the two inches left between him and the wall, an opportunity of discomfort that took me to heaven because I was so close to him." In the days that followed, Wood produced a small 8 ¾ x 5 ¾" watercolor sketch commemorating the intimate encounter, which she titled Marcel's Bed (Lit de Marcel) (1917).
Lit de Marcel [Marcel's Bed] (1917): watercolor (Beatrice Wood, Marcel Duchamp, Charles Demuth, Aileen Dresser, and Mina Loy)
Dresser exhibited at the Armory Show, 1913; WMAA, 1918 and 1926-28; PAFA, 1934 and 1938; GGE, 1939; Society of Independent Artists, 1929. In 1923 she exhibited at the Wanamaker Gallery, Broadway and 9th Street, New York. In 1936 she exhibited at the Morton Gallery, 130 West 57th Street, New York.
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