In a darker time, let’s call it the early 1990s, MTV tried its hand at some edgier things and one of those broadcast experiments was a semi-animated short series titled Art School Girls of Doom.

Part of the Liquid Television animation showcase, the series featured two transgender performers, Codie Field and Gina Varla Vetro, that parade through their lives with the love of fun and fashion one would expect of drag queens in the era. The show was part of a wave of mainstream interest in drag that congealed around the Wigstock drag festival, the popular Paris Is Burning (1990) documentary, and other cultural events, including the prevalence of drag on talk shows and music videos. In a 1992 article in Vanity Fair, Michael Musto argues that the surge of interest in drag culture was partly a reaction to the conservative vision of America that was presented at the 1992 Republican National Convention.

Watching Art School Girls of Doom today is like watching most classic television, the timing feels a little alien, the fashion looks retro, and it all feels like a simpler time when no one carried digital devices. We watch the pre-HD program and assume we’ve evolved — have we?

h/t Zach Alan

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Hrag Vartanian

Hrag Vartanian is editor-in-chief and co-founder of Hyperallergic. You can follow him at @hragv.

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