HAG–small, contemporary, haggard Participant Inc., New York
November 9–December 16, 2012


PARTICIPANT INC is delighted to welcome Vaginal Davis back to New York City for her first major solo visual art exhibition, HAG–small, contemporary, haggard. The name HAG in part refers to a subset within the Queercore movement of the eighties, which reclaimed the negative connotations associated with the term HAG. The croan, the skank, the slattern, the fag hag, and the veritable sea hag all took on new states of exaltation within this movement. Although HAG had proponents on both coasts, it was more active in Los Angeles, where Ms. Davis was hatched.

This exhibition is in tribute to and inspired by the original HAG Gallery (1982- 1989), which Ms. Davis opened at 7850 Sunset Blvd. in Hollywood, California. The new, botoxed HAG will function as a fractured gallery within the space of PARTICIPANT INC. As Davis puts it, “my medium is the indefinite nature of my own whimsy.” HAG will feature new work that Davis has made while living in the Rote Insel section of Berlin, including her signature cosmetics-and-tempera paintings of women trapped in the bodies of women, lesbian domesticity wallpaper collages, and totemic bread sculpture, which Davis describes as Rapa Nui Moai monuments vs. the Venus of Willendorf.

During the run of the original HAG, Davis only featured the work of obsessive figures who didn’t consider themselves artists and who did not go to art school. The gallery was located on the famed Sunset Strip at the Villa Rosa Rock n Roll Apartment Building, which was owned by Iranian Jews with a penchant for freaks. But then, who else would rent an apartment to a loud, unruly messticle like Vaginal Davis? Her next-door neighbor was John Drew Barrymore, the alcoholic and drug addled son of stage and screen star John Barrymore and father of actress Drew Barrymore. Barrymore’s paintings and assemblages, composed of broken liquor bottles, hypodermic needles, and squished cockroaches, marked the opening season of HAG. Every piece sold but sadly the former actor almost OD’d two weeks after the closing night, as he used his proceeds for one big drug binge, aided and abetted by some tired death rockers.

During the seven years of HAG, guests were often found fornicating among antipaintings, decomposing sculptures, edible fashion, psychotic/psychotropic performances, vomitorials, alpha bitch slaps, and feral mudslides. Over the years, HAG hosted work from Mari Kono, Charles LeDray, Rick Owens, Holly Woodlawn, Gorilla Rose, the late Wagner Vieira-the Brazilian David Wojnarowicz, Alice Bag, The Swing Set, The Cambridge Apostles, Michael Franti’s The BeatNiggs, Tragic Mulatto, Clay Idols, Victor Banana, Tim Donnelly, Dora, Boofy Saint Marie, Nelson Sullivan, DeAundra Peek and the Peak Sisters, Peace Frog, Diane Paillette, Mark Maxwell, Quasi O’Shea, Gomorrah Wednesday, Momma Stud, Section Eight, Iris Parker, Johnny Dark, Janet Klein, Doberman, Colleen Pancake, Sex Red Bed Spread, David Monster, Tom Gallo, Ginger Surfer Valerian of the South Bay, Klaus von Brücker, Martin Nesvig, Glen Meadmore, Psychodrama, Miracle!, Lisa Suckdog & Jean Louis Costes.