Genesis Breyer P-Orridge, Musician, Artist and Provocateur, Dies at 70


Genesis kept evolving. After achieving cult notoriety in Throbbing Gristle, she found a broader rock audience in the 1980s with the occultist psychedelic band Psychic TV. The group’s followers formed a cultlike network called Thee Temple ov Psychick Youth, with members instructed to wear paramilitary uniforms and explore realms of magic and the occult. But in 1991, with the band and the fan club becoming too draining, Genesis relocated to Kathmandu with her first wife, Paula, and their two daughters, Genesse and Caresse.

Another page turned: In her absence, the authorities raided Genesis’s home in Brighton, on the English coast, and confiscated materials that were splashed on the news as evidence of a supposed satanic cult. Though no charges were filed, the family went into voluntary exile, ultimately landing in California and the orbit of Mr. Leary, the LSD pioneer, who became a friend and influence. There, as Genesis’s first marriage unwound, she found another unlikely identity, as a single father of two girls, attending P.T.A. meetings in a silver miniskirt and thigh-high boots. “They were good meetings,” she said.

On a trip to New York, she met Jacqueline Breyer, a dominatrix and nurse. Their love was so consuming that they wanted to fuse into a single entity, freed from the binary divisions of gender. After Genesis was severely injured in a fire in the California home of the music mogul Rick Rubin in April 1995, the couple moved to New York for her recovery.

They shared clothes and makeup. After Genesis won a lawsuit for the injuries sustained in the fire, they had money and time to push their “pandrogyne” project further. They got matching breast implants. Lady Jaye, as she was known, got a chin implant and had surgery on her nose.

“We’d go to our plastic surgeon and say, what else can we do now to look more alike?” Genesis said.

Then in 2007, Lady Jaye died of an acute heart arrhythmia. Her death left Genesis alone, one half of an art project that no longer had a second half.

All along, Genesis was writing, painting, creating collages and sculptures that explored gender and sexuality. Once declared a destroyer of civilization, she found her work embraced by the fine art world, including the Tate Britain in London and the Rubin Museum of Art in New York.

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