Art exhibit questions masculinity

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Art exhibit questions masculinity

Bianca Martinez

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Cerritos College students now have the chance to see the premise of masculinity countered by LGBTQ+ artists in a new exhibit featured at the Cerritos College Art Gallery.

A reception was held Thursday, Oct. 26 in the Cerritos College art gallery located in the floor level of the Fine Arts Building to introduce the new installation .

The exhibit was curated by guest curator Roman Stollenwerk, assistant curator at the Wignall Museum of contemporary art at Chaffey College, who spent over a year curating pieces and contacting artists in preparation of the exhibit entitled Man Up! Masculinity in Question which included collected pieces by multiple LGBTQ+ artists who question society’s idea of masculinity in their work.

Stollenwerk chose to showcase this specific topic because he has “been interested in artists that explore gender in their work.”

In previous exhibitions, he’s looked at different considerations on the topic, but for this one he “specifically wanted to look at artists that are investigating what masculinity means and who it’s relevant to.”

He added that as a gay male, he spends a lot of time thinking about what it means to be masculine — so he was interested in looking at other voices that were also talking about that same topic but in very different ways and not all of them directly, but artists that he thought were creating something in their artworks that help to discuss that topic.

The show incorporates works of diverse materials such as painting, photography, sculptures, video or performance art.

Visual artist and graphic designer Scott James Vanidestine was present at the gallery reception where his piece, Three Weeks After Exposure, is now currently being showcased.

It is a body of work where the artist asked his friend, who had been recently diagnosed as HIV positive, about their experience — then, created an art piece based off their response.

Vanidestine incorporates multiple materials in his artwork, canvas, beading, appliques, sequins and stitching and based on personal experience deems that learning to work with various medium can help develop an artist.

Vanidestine stated, “I think as just artists in general we’re told to find something interesting but I think we try too hard and it wasn’t until I let go of trying to tell my own personal story that I was able to step back and tell a story because I was interested and excited and passionate about it, it was just working with materials is how I got invested, was how I was able to kinda break free and I think that’s really liberating and then especially if you are a LGBTQ+ artist.”

Students such as graphic design major Anthony Arteaga believe the topic is refreshing especially to be on display in a college setting.

Arteaga states, “I think it’s actually really, for an academic setting, it’s definitely intuitive, I’ve never seen something like this at a school before. It opens up people’s minds and I think it’s a good way to just, not normalize, but definitely express the side of the human psyche like where we are all taught that we have to, especially as men, have to act like men and here we see the deconstruction of that thought process.”

The exhibit will be in duration from Oct. 26 to Dec. 5 of this year.

Director and curator of the Cerritos College Art Gallery James McDevitt felt the exhibit is not just for artists students to come and visit but for students interested in sociology, philosophy and exology based on the theme represented.

MacDevitt states what he would like students to take away from the exhibit, “I’d like them to see how the artists in the show are tackling these issues from different perspectives, some of them {the artists} are looking at the athletic male body, at the militaristic male body, at the swish male body and they’re also approaching these concerns with a multitude of different mediums….and the superficial read of these is often not the most remarkable aspect of them, you have to spend time with the work and when you do, you’ll see a deeper set of issues…anyone can come here and find something of interest and then of course we are all human beings living in bodies so these issues of gender binaries and their alternatives are things that we should all be concern ourselves with so hopefully rest of the campus comes out to see the show at some point.”






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