Al Hirschfeld Foundation Celebrates Pride With 'Drag Show' Exhibition Curated by Charles Busch

The exhibition is live online through August 15.

By: May. 29, 2024
Al Hirschfeld Foundation Celebrates Pride With 'Drag Show' Exhibition Curated by Charles Busch
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The Al Hirschfeld Foundation is celebrating Pride Month with its latest online exhibition, “Hirschfeld’s Drag Show,” now live at through August 15. The special guest curator for the exhibition is Tony-nominated playwright, actor, director, novelist and drag legend, Charles Busch.

The new exhibition celebrates some of the greatest drag performances of stage and screen, as seen through the eyes of legendary artist Al Hirschfeld. Charles Busch offers his commentary on Hirschfeld art depicting scenes from Broadway and Off-Broadway theater, and film including Hairspray, Some Like It Hot, Victor/Victoria, Charlie’s Aunt, Tootsie and Peter Pan, and artists including Julie Andrews, Mary Martin, Harvey Fierstein, Charles Ludlam, José Ferrer, Katharine Hepburn, Raquel Welch, Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon, Dustin Hoffman, BD Wong, Tony Roberts, Robert Morse and more.

“Through Hirschfeld’s remarkable catalogue, we’re able to chart the ways cross-dressing has been used as a theatrical tool over the past century,” says guest curator, Charles Busch. “At first, it was often the only way closeted LGBT artists were able to express their voices. At other times drag has been employed as a plot device allowing society to articulate in a light-hearted manner its fear of the “other.” In more recent decades, openly gay artists have taken drag into new realms both dramatic and comic. With this collection of drawings, we chart the history of performers and shows that have used drag in a variety of creative strategies. Hirschfeld’s great gift in portraying the joy of theatrical self-expression gives all of these drawings a humanity along with their outrageous flamboyance.”

“We are thrilled to have the legendary Charles Busch curate this special exhibition,” says David Leopold, Creative Director of The Al Hirschfeld Foundation. “With Charles Busch, this marks the first time that The Al Hirschfeld Foundation has partnered with a guest curator who has been the subject of Hirschfeld's pen. Charles brings not only a wide-ranging knowledge of the history of drag, and is a drag legend himself, but he was drawn by Hirschfeld—twice—so he brings that insider knowledge as well. While this show debuts during Pride, it is one for the ages. It reveals a collection of Hirschfeld art that has never been properly celebrated, and we hope that this show leads to more appreciation of his drawings of performers in drag.”

Go behind the lines of Hirschfeld’s art with "The Hirschfeld Century Podcast." A special episode focusing “Hirschfeld’s Drag Show,” will be released June 11 from and other popular podcast sites.