This free exhibition featured the work of more than 30 artists who have used drag to explore or question identity, gender, class and politics, from the 1960s to the present day.
Alongside key figures such as Pierre Molinier, VALIE EXPORT, Robert Mapplethorpe and Cindy Sherman, the exhibition also included self-portraits by a younger generation of contemporary artists who have recently embraced drag as an art form, including Adam Christensen and Victoria Sin.
Rather than offering a linear or chronological narrative, this exhibition aimed to present a multitude of voices that explore cultural shifts of the past 50 years and touch on topics that include the 1980s AIDS crisis and post-colonial theory.
Focused on photography but spanning a variety of other media, DRAG was accompanied by a programme of tours led by drag performers.
Eleanor Antin, Oreet Ashery, Renate Bertlmann, Leigh Bowery, Genesis Breyer P-Orridge, Luciano Castelli, Adam Christensen, Francesco Copello, Jimmy DeSana, Rose English, VALIE EXPORT, Samuel Fosso, Lynn Hershman Leeson, Ann Hirsch, David Hoyle, Michel Journiac, Birgit Jürgenssen, Paul Kindersley, Suzy Lake, Robert Mapplethorpe, Ana Mendieta, Pierre Molinier, Tony Morgan, Hunter Reynolds, Cindy Sherman, Victoria Sin, Jo Spence, Sturtevant, Ulay, Martha Wilson, David Wojnarowicz & Jesse Hultberg, Ming Wong and Cerith Wyn Evans.
During DRAG: Self-portraits and Body Politics there were three guided tours of the exhibition led by drag performers.
Tour led by Timberlina
Country-dwelling Timberlina has been tantalising audiences with sardonic charm and irreverent homespun wit for over a decade. Since curating the first Queer Late at the V&A in 2009, Ms T has created queer cultural interventions for the National Trust, The National Archives, Tate and Geffrye Museum, among others. Timberlina is also the eco-kitsch hirsute hostess for the acclaimed Big Bingo Show on Monday nights at the legendary Royal Vauxhall Tavern.
Tour led by ShayShay
Bringing their unique brand of high energy, gluten-free, Californian camp, Shane ShayShay Konno is the loudmouth queen with elastic lips. ShayShay is a drag artist and activist devoted to empowering the queer community, exposing intersectionality and raising marginalised voices. ShayShay the creator, curator and host of the ShayShay Show, a performance night for new performers and new work. They are here, queer, and shouting in your ear!
Tour led by That Ray
That Ray is a drag artist, writer and PhD student at the University of Sussex, interested in feminism, queer subcultures and anti-capitalism. Their solo show, Non-Binary Electro Hour (most recently at Camden People’s Theatre) is about gender nonconformity and in-between spaces. They’ve also performed at Tate Britain, National Maritime Museum, Glastonbury and Latitude Festivals, National Theatre River Stage, Cologne Art Week, with David Hoyle, and anywhere else that will have them. They are currently being mentored by Scottee.