Performative LECTURE with Ms. Vaginal Davis
"Sassafras, Cypress & Indigo--Black Screen Images, Vaginal Davis and the Notion of Freakiness"
UdK Berlin Hardenbergstr.33 on June 8th. At 7:30 room 110
"Davis [ist] im Grunde genommen global die entscheidende Drag Queen, die dem Genre nach Punk und neben Vogueing noch etwas Wesentliches hinzugefügt hatte." Diedrich Diederichsen, Theater Heute Jahrbuch, 2001.
Vaginal Davis is an originator of the homo-core punk movement and a gender-queer art-music icon. Her concept bands -- including Pedro Muriel and Esther, Cholita! The Female Menudo, black fag, and the Afro Sisters -- have left an indelible mark on the development of underground music. Like Ron Athey, Ms Davis made her name in LA's club performance scene, and has earned herself a similar notoriety as a cultural antagonist and erotic provocateur.
Set apart from gallery-centered art, and Hollywood movies, and from those systems' necessities of high-polish, low-substance production, Vaginal Davis's low-budget -- often no-budget -- performance, experimental film and video practice has critiqued exclusionary conceits from the outside. Davis has been a prolific producer of club performance, video and Xerox-produced Zines, and other forms of antagonistic low-cost, high-impact work. Such as in her drag reconstruction of Vanessa Beecroft's Navy SEALs performance, Ms Davis derails collector-friendly raciness in spectacles of femininity, queerness and blackness. She critiques both the gallery system and the larger cultural trend that it mirrors, with tongue-in-cheek self-exploitation and rude provocations of racial and gender confusion.