Hank Willis Thomas is one of 10 artists featured in the CWAM upcoming exhibition "SHAPESHIFTING: Contemporary Masculinities" from Oct.14-Dec. 7, 2014. "I Am Man" 2009, by Thomas is one of eight word paintings in the exhibition. (Liquitex on canvas, Edition 2 of 3; Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York)


SHAPESHIFTING Exhibition Explores Perceptions of Evolving Masculinities

Exhibition at The College of Wooster Art Museum runs Oct. 14 through Dec. 7

10 October, 2014 by John Finn

WOOSTER, Ohio — A combination of emerging and established artists will be featured when The College of Wooster Art Museum (CWAM) presents "SHAPESHIFTING: Contemporary Masculinities" Oct. 14 through Dec. 7 in the Sussel Gallery and the Burton D. Morgan Gallery of Ebert Art Center (1220 Beall Ave.).

The exhibition brings together 10 artists who question, reframe, and explore perceptions and anxieties about evolving masculinities in the 21st century, according Kitty McManus Zurko, director and curator at the CWAM. "This project is intended to raise — but not necessarily answer — questions about the relevance of the historical male role model, contemporary ideas about gender construction, and the purpose of fraternity," she said.

The artists in SHAPESHIFTING can be loosely placed into three categories, according to McManus Zurko. The first is evolving cultural terrain; the second is normative behavior; and the third is the role of fraternity. In the first group, Robyn O'Neil, Alec Soth, Sara Greenberger Rafferty, and Hank Willis Thomas look at different aspects of evolving attitudes toward gender roles. In the second group, Marcella Hackbardt, Michael Scoggins, Kris Knight, and Weston Ulfig present ideas about the formation and shattering of gender normative behaviors. In the third group, Brooks Dierdorff and Fall On Your Sword (Will Bates) consider the role of fraternity through their critique of the actions, repercussions, and value of male bonding forged through sport. "The exhibition is designed to provoke discussion," said Zurko, "and, as Robyn O'Neil suggests, endings, while anxiety producing, are also heralds of new beginnings and opportunities."

The opening reception for this exhibition will be Thursday, Oct. 16, from 6:30-8 p.m. with a Gallery Talk at 7 p.m. The will also be a Curator's Walk with McManus Zurko and a light lunch on Wednesday, Oct. 29, from 12 noon to 1 p.m. In addition there will be a screening of a documentary on Alec Soth, Somewhere to Disappear, on Thursday, Nov. 6, from 7-8 p.m. in Room 223 of Ebert Art Center and a Faculty-Student-Staff Roundtable on Wednesday, Nov. 12, from 7-8 p.m. with Angie Bos, associate professor of political science; Ryan Ozar, associate director of internships; and seniors Bjorn Olson and James Parker.

SHAPESHIFTING was organized by the CWAM in support of the College's political science department's "Mentoring Conference for New Research on Gender in Political Psychology," and funded, in part, by the Muriel Mulac Kozlow, Class of 1948, Endowed Fund. The exhibition and related events are all free and open to the public.

The CWAM is open Tuesday through Friday from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 1-5 p.m. The museum will be closed Nov. 24-Dec. 1 for The College of Wooster's Thanksgiving break. Additional information is available by phone (330-263-2388) or online.