Gorgeous Drag exhibition photo copyright Elizabeth Waterman

A new online exhibition explores New York’s iconic drag scene

Between 2014 and 2016, Elizabeth Waterman photographed the city’s glittering late-night performers – with the images now brought together for Albumen Gallery’s Gorgeous Drag exhibition

The online solo exhibition features unseen images by the Los Angeles-based fine art photographer, focusing specifically on the Bushwick area of Brooklyn and the annual Bushwig drag festival, which will be celebrating its 11th iteration later this year.

Following a period spent working in portrait photography, documenting New York’s “millennial art community”, Waterman found her way to the city’s nightlife through a party that she was invited to in 2014.

Gorgeous Drag exhibition photo copyright Elizabeth Waterman
All images copyright Elizabeth Waterman
Gorgeous Drag exhibition photo copyright Elizabeth Waterman
Gorgeous Drag exhibition photo copyright Elizabeth Waterman
Gorgeous Drag exhibition photo copyright Elizabeth Waterman

She recalls: “When I walked in this party, I knew I’d found the edge of a blade. Who were these glittering performers, these late-night habitués? Would they let me into their world? I was intrigued, enamoured. I had to know more.”

In the two years that followed, Waterman captured club kids, drag queens, burlesque dancers, can-can girls, and more, offering an intimate take on New York’s underground performance world – the home of iconic artists such as Sasha Velour, Aquaria, and Scarlet Envy.

Her work coincided with the scene’s emergence into the spotlight, as figures within it became increasingly confident in their “contribution towards an expanding conversation about gender and sex in the United States”.

Gorgeous Drag is presented by Albumen’s director Stephan Schmid and is available to view until August 19; albumen-gallery.com

DESIGNER

LONDON