Photograph of Vaginal Davis looking into the camera with a surpriced face

Vaginal Davis. Photo: Hector Martinez

Vaginal Davis

Magnificent Product

18.5 – 13.10 2024

Stockholm

Award-winning artist, acclaimed author and international blacktress Vaginal Davis is coming to Stockholm. In her pioneering and incredibly diverse oeuvre, punk meets glamour, queer activism meets racial justice and resistance meets joy. “Magnificent Product” is her first major solo exhibition.

Buy ticket

Adult: 150 SEK
Senior/student: 120 SEK
Annual Pass: 375 SEK

Free admission for those 18 and under and Klubb Moderna

Audio guide

Get in-depht knowledge about the works in ”Vaginal Davis: Magnificent Product”.

Audio guide: Vaginal Davis: Magnificent Product

Artist talk

Meet Ms. Davis for a once-in-a-lifetime, not-be-missed, all-the-tea-spilled conversation with Moderna Museet curator Hendrik Folkerts.

Artist talk: Vaginal Davis

Catalogue

The exhibitions that together form “Vaginal Davis: Magnificent Product” are accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue.

The catalogue includes new texts on Ms. Davis’s work by Bojana Kunst, Hendrik Folkerts, Lia Gangitano, Elizabeth Leibovici, and Troizel X, as well as a collection of letters from colleagues, concubines, and co-conspirators, including Jonathan Berger, Darby English, Ricardo Montez, Tavia Nyong’o, Susanne Sachsse, Marc Siegel, and Lisa Teasley.

Welcome to the wondrous world of Vaginal Davis. In this “magnificent product”, which unfolds at Moderna Museet and other art institutions in Stockholm, you are invited to see Ms. Davis’s expansive practice from all angles. – Hendrik Folkerts, Curator

Once upon a time, in the far-eastern part of Los Angeles, a little girl was born. Her name was Vaginal. She was a child prodigy: she could read when she was two, soon learned to speak five languages including Assyrian, graced the stage of numerous elementary school theatres, enrolled in the local genius honours program, and, at the tender age of eight years, mounted her first exhibition at the Los Angeles Public Library, a radical rethinking of L. Frank Baum’s “The Wizard of Oz”.

Vaginal came out as Black at the age of eighteen. Inspired by the militancy of the Black Panthers in the United States, Vaginal named herself after Angela Davis — forever cementing her name in the annals of history: Vaginal Davis.

Vaginal Davis, The White to be Angry, 1999 Film still. © Vaginal Davis. Courtesy the artist and Galerie Isabella Bortolozzi, Berlin.

In the late 1970s, she started a band called The Afro Sisters, followed by other punk bands including ¡Cholita!; Pedro, Muriel & Esther; and black fag. Vaginal Davis made a scene, referred to by flannel-wearing scholars as “homocore,” a movement that refused the lame game of the gay mainstream and created a radical alternative for many a freak and misfit. Children and innocent white boys were advised to stay inside, as Vaginal Davis played to stars and plebeians alike on the stages of night clubs, gay bars, and punk pits. Even then, Vaginal Davis understood the path to world domination:

“Everything that is culturally fascinating and interesting in the world originated in the Black queer demimonde then gets adapted by the Black straight populace, then co-opted into dominant or popular culture.”

Vaginal Davis did not stop there. She would go on to become a published author, award-winning blacktress, visual artist, temple prostitute, drag terrorist, celebrated film and documentary maker, cult figure, international superstar, spokesmodel, gossip columnist, influential socialite, and foundational performance artist.

She also moved to Berlin in the mid-2000s, where she made another scene, merging Los Angeles punk with Berlin radical. The Gospel of Vaginal Davis is now preached in every church, school, and queer club, from bustling metropoles to peaceful villages.

Vaginal Davis, Wanda Coleman, 2021 © Vaginal Davis. Courtesy the artist and Galerie Isabella Bortolozzi, Berlin.
Vaginal Davis, Wanda Coleman (back), 2021 © Vaginal Davis. Courtesy the artist and Galerie Isabella Bortolozzi, Berlin.

At Moderna Museet, Vaginal Davis metabolizes her own history with three major installations. First, “The Carla DuPlantier Cinerama Dome”, which holds four of Ms. Davis’s films from the 1980s and 1990s: “That Fertile Feeling” (1983), “Cholita!” (1995), “The White to be Angry” (1999), and “The Last Club Sucker” (1999). Together, they show Ms. Davis as a founding mother of Los Angeles’s punk “homocore” scene.

The second installation is “HAG – small, contemporary, haggard”. Initially conceived as Ms. Davis’s apartment gallery on 7850 Sunset Blvd. in Hollywood, California (1982-1989). “HAG” hosts numerous works by Ms. Davis: a suite of paintings of “women trapped in the bodies of women”; an installation of “lesbian domesticity wallpaper”; and two totemic sculptures made of bread, “Dirty Mariah (Lower Mesopotamia 40 BC)” and “Timberlake”, described by Ms. Davis as “Rapa Nui Moai monuments vs. the Venus of Willendorf.”

In the final room you are invited to step into “The Wicked Pavilion”, where, in the form of a library and a tween bedroom, Vaginal Davis brings together the icons, celebrated and forgotten, that populate her universe, through a dazzling installation of over 500 books, over forty paintings, and numerous handbag sculptures, not to mention a sampling of her blog avant-la-lettre “Speaking From the Diaphragm: The Vaginal Davis Blog (…From the Counsel of Inter-Continental Balistic Principalities with over 15,000,000 Followers and Subscribers)”.

Ann Summa, ¡Cholita! (left to right: Melanie Sparks, Fertile La Toyah Jackson, Vaginal Davis, Webmaster, Alice Bag), c. 1990 Courtesy the artist

But we do not stop there. “Vaginal Davis: Magnificent Product” also takes place at partner institutions in Stockholm, including Accelerator, Stockholm University, Index – Swedish Foundation for Contemporary Art, MDT (Moderna Dansteatern), Nationalmuseum, and Tensta Konsthall — with each venue highlighting a different part of Vaginal Davis’s work.

After all, it takes a whole city to welcome a star of the caliber of Vaginal Davis.

Vaginal Davis, Susan Kohner – Imitation of Life, 2017 © Vaginal Davis. Courtesy New Discretions.
Ted Soqui, Ron Athey and Vaginal Davis, Courtesy the artist and Galerie Isabella Bortolozzi, Berlin.

Images

Installation view from the room "The Wicked Pavilion". A room completely in pink, with a stand and shelves with books on the wall in the picture. Paintings hang under the shelves, and three church-style windows can be seen next to the wall.
Vaginal Davis, Installation view, The Fantasia Library "Vaginal Davis: Magnificent Product". Photo: My Matson/Moderna Museet. © Vaginal Davis 2024.
Installation view from the room "The Wicked Pavilion". Pink wall with several painting-like artworks in a collage-like hanging.
Vaginal Davis, Installation view, The Wicked Pavilion "Vaginal Davis: Magnificent Product". Photo: My Matson/Moderna Museet. © Vaginal Davis 2024.
Installation view from the room "The Wicked Pavilion". Photograph of a girl's room in pink. A fishing line with photographs hangs from the ceiling. In the middle of the room is a bed on a podium, in the bed is a large phallus sculpture.
Vaginal Davis, Installation view, The Wicked Pavilion "Vaginal Davis: Magnificent Product". Photo: My Matson/Moderna Museet. © Vaginal Davis 2024.
Installation view from the room "HAG – small, contemporary, haggard". A White box placed in the middle of the exhibition room reads "Vaginal Davis, HAG – small, contemporary, haggard"
Installation view, HAG – small, contemporary, haggard "Vaginal Davis: Magnificent Product". Photo: My Matson/Moderna Museet. © Vaginal Davis 2024.

Calendar events

Photograph of Vaginal Davis looking into the camera with a surpriced face
  • Guided tour
  • In Swedish

Vaginal Davis: Magnificent Product

Photograph of Vaginal Davis looking into the camera with a surpriced face
  • Guided tour
  • In Swedish

Vaginal Davis: Magnificent Product

Photograph of Vaginal Davis looking into the camera with a surpriced face
  • Guided tour
  • In Swedish

Vaginal Davis: Magnificent Product

Photograph of Vaginal Davis looking into the camera with a surpriced face
  • Guided tour
  • In Swedish

Vaginal Davis: Magnificent Product

Photograph of Vaginal Davis looking into the camera with a surpriced face
  • Guided tour
  • In Swedish

Vaginal Davis: Magnificent Product

Photograph of Vaginal Davis looking into the camera with a surpriced face
  • Guided tour
  • In Swedish

Vaginal Davis: Magnificent Product

Photograph of Vaginal Davis looking into the camera with a surpriced face
  • Guided tour
  • In Swedish

Vaginal Davis: Magnificent Product

Installation view from the room "The Wicked Pavilion". Photograph of a girl's room in pink. A fishing line with photographs hangs from the ceiling. In the middle of the room is a bed on a podium, in the bed is a large phallus sculpture.
  • Guided tour
  • In English

Vaginal Davis at Moderna Museet and Nationalmuseum

Installation view from the room "The Wicked Pavilion". Photograph of a girl's room in pink. A fishing line with photographs hangs from the ceiling. In the middle of the room is a bed on a podium, in the bed is a large phallus sculpture.
  • Guided tour
  • In English

Vaginal Davis at Moderna Museet and Nationalmuseum

Photograph of Vaginal Davis looking into the camera with a surpriced face
  • Guided tour
  • In Swedish

Vaginal Davis: Magnificent Product

Photograph of Vaginal Davis looking into the camera with a surpriced face
  • Guided tour
  • In Swedish

Vaginal Davis: Magnificent Product

Photograph of Vaginal Davis looking into the camera with a surpriced face
  • Guided tour
  • In Swedish

Vaginal Davis: Magnificent Product

Photograph of Vaginal Davis looking into the camera with a surpriced face
  • Guided tour
  • In Swedish

Vaginal Davis: Magnificent Product

Photograph of Vaginal Davis looking into the camera with a surpriced face
  • Guided tour
  • In Swedish

Vaginal Davis: Magnificent Product

Photograph of Vaginal Davis looking into the camera with a surpriced face
  • Guided tour
  • In Swedish

Vaginal Davis: Magnificent Product

Photograph of Vaginal Davis looking into the camera with a surpriced face
  • Guided tour
  • In Swedish

Vaginal Davis: Magnificent Product

Photograph of Vaginal Davis looking into the camera with a surpriced face
  • Guided tour
  • In Swedish

Vaginal Davis: Magnificent Product

More about this exhibition