This group concerns the practice of imitation, and therefore indicates a shifting attention from self to other. Some of the works in this group represent drag in the conventional sense as a kind of playful costuming in which gender is exaggerated or reversed.
Instead of simply representing a parody of gender norms, other artists create works that also question the sincerity or "naturalness" of the art object itself. For example, Robert Gober's Plywood—a finely crafted, handmade imitation of an industrially produced building material—functions both in the tradition of trompe l'oeil painting—in which artists attempted to paint so realistically as to "fool the eye"—while also suggesting an attempt literally to fabricate an experience of masculinity.
Double Blue Barbra, 1992
Acrylic on canvas
45 x 72 in.
Lent by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
The Artist's Conception: Miss General Idea, 1971, 1971
Screenprint on latex
40 x 26 in.
Courtesy General Idea
David at Grove Street, Boston, 1972, 1972
18-3/4 x 12-5/8 in.
Gift of the artist