Arts » Visual Arts

Review: 'Hard Targets' at iMOCA

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Pennants by Cary Leibowitz.
  • Pennants by Cary Leibowitz.

According to the exhibition text, Hard Targets “seeks to revise and complicate our time-honored stereotypes of male athletes and athleticism (as aggressive, heterosexual, hypercompetitive, and remote) by presenting alternative, possibly more democratic, interpretations of subjects frequently revealed to us only in authorized and frankly commercial images.” We see something in the art here often lacking from media and advertising images of statuesque athletes — vulnerability.

Catherine Opie’s images of young football players embody this vulnerability the most. Cary Leibowitz’s felt pennants and rubber football challenge masculinity by portraying traditional sports objects in feminine colors and emblazoned with phrases suggesting homosexuality (“Go fags!”; “Homo State”).

At the momentous occasion of Indianapolis hosting its first Super Bowl, taking a critical look at sports' role and identifying power in our society through the eyes of some exciting contemporary artists certainly feels apt.

The exhibition is curated by Christopher Bedford, chief curator of the Wexner Center for the Arts. Featuring the art of Leibowitz, Opie, Mark Bradford, Cary Leibowitz, Glenn Ligon, Joe Sola, Hank Willis Thomas and Jonas Wood. Through March 17 at iMOCA.

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