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life is drag 3s

‘Life is Drag: More is Better and Never Too Much’ at 3S Artspace

3S Artspace
319 Vaughan St
Portsmouth, NH 03801

MAY 7 – JUNE 27

Free and open to the public.

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!

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.



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.)