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‘The Art of Drag’ campaign image: Ferdinand Erfmann, Dance bar (1928), Frans Hals Museum

The Art of Drag

The first exhibition in the Netherlands on drag artists that takes an art history perspective


12 April 2024 - 13 October 2024


HAL, Grote Markt


Adults, Youth

Drag is all around us: RuPaul’s TV programme Drag Race and Eurovision Song Contest winner Conchita Wurst are two popular examples. But drag isn’t a modern phenomenon. Greek tragedies included men in drag and mocked stereotypical gender roles.

Artists have often addressed this topic. Around 1900, paintings of Hartjesdag (Day of Hearts), a traditional Haarlem festival, often captured men dressed as women and vice versa. Some artists, such as Ferdinand Erfmann (1901–1968), cross dressed or dressed in drag. Others painted portraits of people who felt they could be themselves through this form of expression, for example, Kees van Dongen (1877–1968). The exhibition includes contemporary works by Sin Wai Kin, Sarah Lucas, Gillian Wearing, Yamuna Forzani, Charles Atlas, Julius Thissen, Erwin Olaf, Ton van Rijn and Roza Ahmad that break expectations and masculine and feminine stereotypes.

‘When I look at the art, I'm particularly glad that the work of drag artists is being exhibited at a museum, which is a different environment to where it’s usually shown. I’m glad that we aren’t being viewed as entertainment but as an art form.’

Venus Bijleveld (on Tell me everything you saw, and what you think it means by Sin Wai Kin)

The Art of Drag is the first exhibition in the Netherlands on drag and crossdressing from an art-historical perspective. Visit us to see how artists express their love of drag in ways that often meet opposition. The Art of Drag is a celebration of being allowed to be yourself, of freedom and exuberance!


Groot Heiligland 62, Haarlem

Open Tuesday – Sunday
11 AM – 5 PM


Grote Markt 16, Haarlem

Temporary modern and contemporary art exhibition

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