Los Angeles County Museum of Art - LACMA
Hard Targets - Masculinity and Sport. Mark Bradford, Harun Farocki, Brian Jungen, Shaun Leonardo, Collier Schorr, and Joe Sola - the six artists included in thi exhibition - all work to revise the time-honored archetype of the male athlete as an aggressive, overtly heterosexual, hyper-competitive, and emotionally remote subject. Instead, they offer opposing views of masculinity and sport, and of the entire theatre of athletic play, including the rituals and accoutrements that surround this intimate, male dominated world.
Curated by Christopher Bedford
Exhibition includes works that draw attention to the complexities of the male athlete in contemporary culture
The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) presents Contemporary Projects 11: Hard Targets—Sport and Masculinity, from October 9, 2008 through January 18, 2009. The exhibition features photographs, sculptures, video, and installations by artists, including Mark Bradford, Harun Farocki, Brian Jungen, Shaun Leonardo, Collier Schorr, and Joe Sola— all of whom suggest through their work that the male athlete is a far more ambiguous, multidimensional figure in our collective cultural imagination than ever before. Mimicking the same visual language as the sports media—bright lights, saturated colors, stark graphic treatments—Hard Targets will highlight a range of work that offers new and often jarring perspectives on contemporary masculinity and sports. The artists question how masculine identity is often considered the last uncomplicated, authentic identity in American culture. They also question the viewers’ motivation, asking what they see and what they choose not to see.
The exhibition is organized into four principal themes: the male-to-male dynamics that structure the participation and observation of sporting events; the uniforms and equipment that are often seen as synonymous with the athlete’s identity; athletic events as male-dominated theatre; and finally, the search for softness and complexity beneath the hard, impenetrable facade of the male athlete. The professional sportsman is a cultural subject that has, until recently, been overlooked by artists, critics, art historians, and curators as an object of analysis. This exhibition represents an effort to expand the commonly accorded identity of the male athlete through the work of living artists actively engaged with questions of gender, sexuality, and desire in and through sport.
This exhibition was organized by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and made possible by Nike Sportswear and the Contemporary Projects Endowment Fund. Contributors to the fund include Mr. and Mrs. Eric Lidow, Ronnie and Vidal Sassoon, Steve Martin, The Broad Art Foundation, Bob Crewe, Tony and Gail Ganz, the Ansley I. Graham Trust, Peter Norton Family Foundation, Barry and Julie Smooke, and Sandra and Jacob Y. Terner. LACMA wishes to thank Nike for the generous donation of its Training Ground flooring featured in the exhibition galleries.
About LACMA Since its inception in 1965, LACMA has been devoted to collecting works of art that span both history and geography—and represent Los Angeles’ uniquely diverse population. Today, the museum features particularly strong collections of Asian, Latin American, European, and American art, as well as a new contemporary museum on its campus, BCAM. With this expanded space for contemporary art, innovative collaborations with artists, and an ongoing transformation project, LACMA is creating a truly modern lens through which to view its rich encyclopedic collection.
Image: Mark Bradford, Practice, 2003, digital-video projection with sound, 3 minutes, courtesy of the artist and Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York, © Mark Bradford.
Los Angeles County Museum of Art - LACMA
5905 Wilshire Boulevard - Los Angeles
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