Machine Dazzle, to my mind, [is] a true theatrical genius who has created some of the most inventive costumes and sets I have ever seen. —Hilton Als,The New Yorker
Machine Dazzle is the much-in-demand designer and artist behind popular cabaret, drag, and performance stars such as Taylor Mac and transgender icon Mx. Justin Vivian Bond. For the first time, his over-the-top stage creations, made for himself and others, are collected here alongside stage environments, ephemera, and photos from his career.
In Machine Dazzle’s world, costumes are transformative objects with world-making capacity. The artist’s “queer maximalism” encapsulates a more-is-better attitude to making and creating, which looks to counter elitist notions that spectacle and extravagance are vapid. For him, these associations are embraced as queer for their affirmation of hybridity and the rejection of hierarchies of every kind.
On the occasion of a major exhibition at the Museum of Arts and Design, curator Elissa Auther brings together an expansive collection of essays and reminiscences from fellow performers, historians, and cultural critics that consider every aspect of Machine Dazzle’s rich body of work.
About The Author
Elissa Auther is deputy director of curatorial affairs and William and Mildred Lasdon Chief Curator at the Museum of Arts and Design. Mx. Justin Vivian Bond is a transgender singer, writer, performance artist, and activist. Mike Albo is a writer, comedian, and performance artist. madison moore is a cultural critic, DJ, and professor of queer studies at Virginia Commonwealth University. David Román is professor of English and American studies at the University of Southern California. Taylor Mac is a theater artist. Sally Gray is an independent scholar. Kalle Westerling is a theater and performance PhD candidate.