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Vaginal Davis

Artist 48

Vaginal Davis Terrorist Drag

Vaginal Davis is an American performing artist, painter, independent curator, composer, filmmaker and writer. Born intersex and raised in South Central, Los Angeles, Davis gained notoriety in New York during the 1980s, where she inspired the Bushwick neighborhood of Brooklyn's prevalent drag scene as a genderqueer artist. She currently resides in Berlin, Germany

Davis has kept her exact birth year, as well as the name she was given at birth, private.

Davis' name pays homage to activist Angela Davis, and considers Davis' involvement with the Black Panther Party and activism as a whole to be one of her biggest inspirations, explaining,

"They came into the schools, they had guns, and they took over. They were teaching us all these revolutionary songs and chants and what not.

At that time, when Angela Davis was the most wanted woman in America, I was just fixated with that image of her. By the late '70s I had decided I sort of wanted to sexualize her name and become her, more or less.

So I started in the late '70s calling myself Vaginal Davis. I started to perform– or tried to perform– at these gay clubs in Los Angeles, in Hollywood.

Vaginal Davis is one of the founders of the homo-core punk movement. She chooses to exploit herself to engage in rude provocations. As a self-labeled "sexual repulsive", she is an icon of the disruptive performance aesthetic known as terrorist drag.

For many years, Davis felt as though she was "too gay for the punk scene and too punk for the gay.”

Dominic Johnson of Frieze said, "Ms Davis consistently refuses to ease conservative tactics within gay and black politics, employing punk music, invented biography, insults, self-mockery, and repeated incitements to group sexual revolt."

Davis critiques the co-opting of African, Hispanic, and LGBT culture by the mainstream.


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