Shira Engel ’14 reviews “Mixed Signals: Artists Consider Masculinity in Sports”

Shira Engel ’14 reviews “Mixed Signals: Artists Consider Masculinity in Sports”.

Catherine Opie: Josh (2007). Chromogenic print, 30 x 22 1/4 in. (76.2 x 56.5 cm). Courtesy the artist and Regen Projects, Los Angeles.

In the Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery, a plethora of departments, interests, and values intersect in the Mixed Signals: Artists Consider Masculinity in Sports exhibit. This is a must-see exhibit for Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Sociology, African American Studies, and Anthropology majors, as well as all athletes and Friday Night Lights fans at this university. Basically, if you go to Wesleyan and engage in conversations concerning self and social expression, this exhibit can offer a new and intimate perspective on the age-old institution of American athletics.

The exhibit first takes the viewer through the stereotypes of the male athlete. It uses the art of exposure and reinterpretation as a socially subversive and critical agent of change. Adorning the walls of Zilka, you will find football jerseys, gym equipment, football helmets dangling from the ceiling, photography, paintings, and silent film. In both form and content, intersectionality is heavily present in Mixed Signals. It is, after all, the necessary by-product of a liberal arts education, which is known for interdisciplinary studies.

The multimedia approach creates a multisensory experience, allowing the viewer to experience the social stigma and expectations of masculinity in sports. This is art that is hyper-relevant to the Wesleyan student, as all aspects of the Mixed Signals exhibit have the power and potential to affect campus life.

Mixed Signals is on display through Sunday, October 23, 2011. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Sunday from Noon to 4pm, and on Friday from Noon to 8pm. Gallery admission is free.