When I was first introduced to the gay scene in the mid-80s, drag queens were all older men in heavily sequined-mother-of-the-bride type of gowns…at least that’s what the scene was in west Texas. They were always fun and sassy with their facial stubble coming out after midnight. I could always appreciate their creativity and risk taken to dress up.
As pop culture awareness has grown to include greater drag influence, the stand out icon in this contemporary field is surely RuPaul. RuPaul’s Drag Race tv show has seemed to reinvigorate drag and taken it to a new audience and new level of artistry. I could write on and on about the topic, but what I wanted to highlight was the ensemble of Drag-Race contestant, Detox, which took her to a sort of performance art level at the show’s recent finale. She created a black and white photo look on the colorful red carpet and stage; it was visually challenging and provocative. If this was done by someone like Vanessa Beecroft or even Cindy Sherman (I could see it), it would be all over the art world.
The level of creativity on the Hollywood red carpet has really dwindled in the past decade as fashion blogs and fashion tv have insulted unique style and created fear in the ego driven actors and musicians that would have taken a creative fashion risk back in the day. I think for now the Drag Race red carpet is going to be more interesting than the Oscars, but as history proves- drag will be influential on the mainstream and I look forward to seeing that happen soon.
Art is constantly expanding in its definition and Detox really created an artist achievement that I felt I had to recognize. Work that red carpet girl!