Life’s a Drag, Drag Performance and the Taboos of Femininity, Kate Brazina
“The evolution of drag has it’s first recorded roots in the Thirteenth Century Theater and now is widespread on various platforms such as film, television, underground theater and nightclubs.” - Kate Brazina
Life’s a Drag stands out among great art installations at the Moore College of Art Senior Show because of the manipulation of context, situation, audience, history and future of public art installations. In a Warhol-ized world, art curators seek that cultural awareness nerve that will signal something is different, strange or unknown that can be discovered. The presence of three high profile Philadelphia drag queens along side the graduating class of 2013 of America’s only women’s art school was disorienting and fabulous.
Life’s a Drag, Drag Performance and the Taboos of Femininity, Porcelain
Through facebook messaging DoN asked Kate Brazina some questions: Moore College of Art is a unique institution for women. Did your investigation into drag culture have anything to do with the school’s signification of women as separate? Is your work impacted by the male gaze?
“My interest in drag culture mostly came about because I work in nightlife with a lot of queens. But, my interest in feminism and femininity definitely came from my time at Moore.”
“Moving forward through the next 800 years drag has become a progressive form of entertainment and integral part of the gay community catering to people of all walks of life.” - Kate Brazina artist statement.
“My work has a lot to do with the male gaze and playing with comfort zones.”
Gaze is a psychoanalytical term brought into popular usage by Jacques Lacan to describe the anxious state that comes with the awareness that one can be viewed. The psychological effect, Lacan argues, is that the subject loses a degree of autonomy upon realizing that he or she is a visible object. This concept is bound with his theory of the mirror stage, in which a child encountering a mirror realizes that he or she has an external appearance. Lacan suggests that this gaze effect can similarly be produced by any conceivable object such as a chair or a television screen. This is not to say that the object behaves optically as a mirror; instead it means that the awareness of any object can induce an awareness of also being an object. – Wikipedia
Kate Brazina has tapped the zeitgeist of the gender-fuck cross-dresser as a meme for rebellion in the larger context of society in a powerful and appealing presentation including the prerequisite chairs, TVs and drag queens, the metaphorical psychological mirror.
DoN remembers watching Milton Berle on a black and white TV in the 50s prance and sissy it up in a funny sexualized way. This week America’s Next Drag Superstar, Jinkx Monsoon, was crowned on RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 5, a cable TV reality competition show exposing many of drag’s secrets to a curious audience. RuPaul said in a recent interview that the biggest audience for her product line is teenaged girls. Impersonating women in an all girl’s school takes, as Rupaul would say, charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent. Condragulations Kate Brazina.
ps. DoN‘s drag name is Gayla Dolly.
Written and photographed by DoN Brewer except where noted.
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