While drag culture is getting more and more mainstream, it is still rare to see drag queens and kings entering traditional, institutional spaces.
The Southbank Centre’s Hayward Gallery in London is challenging that assumption by hosting the first major drag exhibition.
DRAG: Self-portraits and Body Politics will open on 22 August. It aims to expand on the traditional representations of drag, involving drag queens, drag kings and bio drags (or faux queens) from different generations and backgrounds.
DRAG exhibition challenges the notion of gender
The art gallery by the river will showcase artists who used drag as a tool to explore gender and identity.
The exhibit, curated by Senior Curator Vincent Honoré and Assistant Curator Katie Guggenheim, focuses on self-portraiture from the 1960s to the present day. It mainly features photographic portraits, but other media are also included.
It displays the works of well-known artists, such as Ulay, Pierre Molinier, VALIE EXPORT, Robert Mapplethorpe, and Cindy Sherman.
DRAG exhibition is also a platform for a younger generation of artists who have embraced drag as an art form. Adam Christensen, Oreet Ashery, and Victoria Sin are among those exhibiting their works at the Hayward Gallery. Christensen, in particular, will present a new performance for the opening night.
Furthermore, English avant-garde artist David Hoyle will display his paintings for the first time in an institutional setting.
Drag performers are known for using their bodies and images as a political tool. The exhibit highlights this aspect of drag as an effective way to spark the conversation around key issues, such as feminism, racial stereotypes, and the AIDS crisis.
Three drag artists will lead guided tours
Three of London’s beloved drag performers will lead their own guided tours of the gallery.
Timberlina will lead a tour on the 15 September. Moreover, Shayshay will take patrons through the artworks on 29 September, followed by Ray Filar (date TBC).
DRAG: Self-portraits and Body Politics is at the Hayward Gallery from 22 August to 14 October 2018.
The full list of artists and more info on the exhibition here.
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