This program of film and video works presents a short exploration of drag culture and performance in contemporary art. Drag is the theatrical practice of adopting the styles and sensibilities of a different gender, and Bona Drag reveals how artists have used this form to challenge traditional definitions of sexuality and social and cultural conventions. Ranging from Andy Warhol’s experimental film Mario Banana (1964) to more recent work, Bona Drag includes artists such as Charles Atlas (whose work has frequently featured drag icons such as Lady Bunny and Leigh Bowery); Suzie Silver (whose video Freebird spoofs hypermasculine southern rock music through female-to-male drag); and Chez Deep and Sasha Velour (whose videos and performances present experimental and avant-garde approaches to drag).
Bona Drag: An Incomplete History of Drag and Cross-Gender Performance in Film and Video Art is made possible with the support of the Video Data Bank of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. RISD Museum is supported by a grant from the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts, through an appropriation by the Rhode Island General Assembly and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, and with the generous partnership of the Rhode Island School of Design, its Board of Trustees, and Museum Governors.