MAY 7 - JUNE 27

*** The Gallery will be closed 12-6pm on Thursday, June 17 for a private event.***
Free and open to the public.
Note: Exhibit contains partial nudity and gratuitous use of tassels. Viewer discretion is advised.

During her two-week residency at 3S Artspace in 2020, Rachel Rampleman filmed and interviewed 21 New England drag artists. Their stories and performances, told through Rampleman’s unique artistic lens, were due to premier in person last spring. However, the pandemic required adaptation and we shared the first preview of Life is Drag in a virtual format. While living in New York over the past year, Rachel was able to meet with drag and burlesque “royalty” and add to her portfolio during a singular moment in history. Expanded and fully realized, Life is Drag: More is Better and Never Too Much is not to be missed!


Life is Drag: More is Better and Never Too Much Reintroduction:
“On March 16, 2020 in New York City, Mayor de Blasio signed an emergency order that shut down all clubs and theatres in the city, and on March 20th Governor Cuomo’s office issued an executive order closing down all non-essential businesses in the state. Shortly thereafter, the city became the epicenter of a global pandemic, and for the following year+ (and still counting), NYC’s best and brightest nightlife performers were stripped of their stages and spotlights, their live audiences and thus their livelihoods, and for many - their sense of purpose and reason to be. Drag and burlesque artists who before had traveled the globe (or at least the 5 boroughs) and performed nightly for adoring crowds were relegated to their more often than not tiny and cramped shared apartments, many pivoting to perform digitally for virtual audiences from their living rooms and bedrooms. Continue reading the Reintroduction...

Artist Statement:

Brooklyn-based multimedia artist Rachel Rampleman creates bodies of work that explore subjects like gender, artifice, and spectacle. Utilizing processes ranging from directorial to curatorial to anthropological, she showcases exuberantly bold and irrepressible personalities who revel in challenging common clichés associated with masculinity and femininity. A sampling of subjects and collaborators include Girls Girls Girls (the world's first and only all-female Mötley Crüe tribute band) and Tazzie Colomb (the world's longest competing female bodybuilder/powerlifter).

In early 2019 she embarked upon Life is Drag, a new series in which she documents her collaborations with the most singular and innovative artists of the currently exploding international alt-drag scene. In January and February of 2020, Rachel met with 21 New England-based drag artists while an artist in residence at 3S, and captured compelling interviews, stunning photographs, and transcendent performances that have become a part of her growing Life is Drag archive. This was her first opportunity to create a large number of video portraits as part of a residency, and she found herself in awe of the wide range of talent she encountered at 3S, the unbridled creativity, confidence, boldness, and power of the performers, and the exuberant and liberating energy and feelings they inspired.

Some examples that illustrate the range of talented individuals she collaborated with at 3S include a local-to-Portsmouth high school senior, a Dutch doctor working in the field of infectious disease diagnostics at Harvard, a Passamaquoddy Two-Spirit (the Indigenous term for someone who is both male and female, and fulfills a third-gender ceremonial role in Native communities), master basket maker, activist, storyteller, and educator from Indian Township, Maine, and an outdoor enthusiast who came to the US as a child of refugee immigrants fleeing Communist Vietnam, who is now the proud father of 46 drag sons in Boston and proudly states that drag literally saved his life.

In late 2020, Rachel started a new residency mid-pandemic in New York City at the cell theatre, and proceeded to create over 50 new video portraits for her Life is Drag archive - and this time expanding the roster to also include alt-burlesque and performance artists. The eponymously titled exhibition was originally scheduled at 3S Artspace from April 10- May 31. Although the gallery temporarily closed, we presented Life is Drag: Virtual Edition, which premiered her video portraits of New England's most unique, edgy, exciting, and inspiring drag Royalty, created while in residency in January and February of 2020 at 3S Artspace.

For Life is Drag: More is Better and Never Too Much, the Gallery at 3S Artspace will feature the portraits of New England's finest drag royalty (as originally intended prior to the pandemic) in tandem with the premiere of Rampleman’s exciting new NYC portraits.

Rachel Rampleman Bio:

"Exceptionally interesting... Wonderfully bizarre... Certainly ready for prime time..." - Ken Johnson, The New York Times

Rachel Rampleman creates bodies of work that explore subjects such as gender, artifice, and spectacle. Utilizing processes ranging from directorial to anthropological, she showcases exuberantly irrepressible personalities who revel in challenging clichés associated with masculinity and femininity. A sampling of subjects include Girls Girls Girls (the world's first and only all-female Mötley Crüe tribute band), Tazzie Colomb (the world's longest competing female bodybuilder), and LACTIC Incorporated (an avant-garde clothing brand that takes the detritus of corporate life and reinterprets it into one-of-a-kind structural garments that challenge the polarization of gender).

Originally from Cincinnati, Ohio, and currently living and working in New York City, she received her MFA from New York University in 2006. Since then her work has been shown internationally at the Shanghai Biennale (Brooklyn Pavilion, 2012-13) in China, the Chennai Photo Biennale (India), JAM in Bangkok, Thailand, and throughout Europe at S.M.A.K. (Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst) and Art Cinema OFFoff (Ghent, Belgium), Monte Arts Centre (Antwerp, Belgium), Terasa (Pilsen, Czech Republic), C/O Berlin, Die Fruhperle, and The Secret Cabinet (Berlin, Germany), and at VIDEONALE.16 at the Kunstmuseum Bonn.

Nationally, her work has been exhibited at such venues as Socrates Sculpture Park, SPRING/BREAK Art Show, Cleopatra’s, Petzel Gallery, Smack Mellon, Auxiliary Projects, The Brooklyn Academy of Music, Satellite Art Show, The Frank Institute at CR10, Spectacle Theater, The Wassaic Project, Flux Factory, VOX Bizarre, Cynthia Broan Gallery, NP Contemporary Art Center, Satellite Art Show, Squeaky Wheel, Envoy Enterprises, Shoestring Press, The Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art, The Warehouse Gallery, SELECT Art Fair, The Last Brucennial, un(SCENE) Art Show, 80 WSE Gallery, Gowanus Swim Society, El Puente CADRE, Art Gotham, Rosenburg Gallery, Cantor Film Center, The Arts Center of the Capital Region, and Collar Works (New York), Paul Robeson Galleries at Rutgers University (New Jersey), Other Cinema at Artists' Television Access (California), The Wexner Center for the Arts, The Contemporary Arts Center, The Weston Art Gallery in the Aronoff Center for the Arts, Thunder-Sky, Inc., The Mini Microcinema, Semantics, and SS NOVA, (Ohio), KMAC Museum Louisville, The Lexington Art League, The Fountain Gallery at Purdue University (Kentucky), 1506 Projects (Washington), University Hall Gallery at UMass Boston (Massachussetts), Icebox Project Space (Philadelphia), PULSE Miami (Florida), The Flint Art Institute, (Michigan), The Miller Gallery at Carnegie Mellon University and The Andy Warhol Museum (Pennsylvania).

Rampleman recently had a survey exhibition on view at the Weston Art Gallery in the Aronoff Center for the Arts (Cincinnati, Ohio) as well as solo exhibitions at VOLTA NY (New York), These Things Take Time (Ghent, Belgium), 42 Social Club (Connecticut), Carl Solway Gallery and The Neon Heater Art Gallery (Ohio), and an early career retrospective at The Center for Exploratory and Perceptual Art (CEPA Gallery) in Buffalo, New York. She is currently preparing for her upcoming solo exhibitions at 3S Artspace (Portsmouth, New Hampshire), THE COURT (Pescara, Italy), Big Toe Gallery (online only), and Auxiliary Projects (Brooklyn, New York).

She has also created curatorial projects with Vanessa Albury as The Sun That Never Sets for venues such as The Frank Institute at CR10 in the Hudson Valley and SPRING/BREAK Art Show in NYC.

Rachel’s work has been reviewed in The New York Times, The Huffington Post, Art F City, Paper Magazine, Artnet, DRAIN, Domino, eyes toward the dove, HYPERALLERGIC, Gothamist, Berlin Art Parasites, the Fanzine, Seattle Pi, Absolute Arts, ÆQAI, and LeCool Bangkok, among others.


Stay connected to the Gallery from home: view the virtual Gallery!


Private Gallery Visits:

Would you prefer a private visit to the Gallery with those in your personal quarantine bubble? We are offering private Gallery visits on Saturdays and Sundays during operating hours. Please reserve in advance at the link below. (10-person capacity applies.)


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