Turning the Tables at Man As Object: Reversing the Gaze

This post also appeared on the Good Vibrations Magazine.

One of the things that I enjoy about art is its ability to question, challenge, or simply shine a light on our assumptions about how things are. Man as Object: Reversing the Gaze opens tonight at SOMArts Cultural Center and I’m really looking forward to going. The first part of the exhibit statement explains:

The goal of this exhibition Man as Object – Reversing the Gaze is to turn the tables and to exhibit works that put the male in the position of art subject and spectacle. What does it mean to objectify men? What does it mean to reverse the (male) gaze? What are the visible signs of maleness and masculinity? How are feminist artists challenging societal views regarding men and masculinity?

The exhibition will examine the visibility of men and masculinity from female/feminist/transgender perspectives. In so doing it necessarily problematizes notions of ‘men,’ ‘male,’ ‘masculinity,’ ‘women’ and ‘female’ while exploring new possibilities for the gaze. This is an inclusive show, and we welcome women and transgender artists to challenge what it means for ‘women’ to look at ‘men.’

Some of the images are erotic, and others aren’t. Some are nudes, and others aren’t. There are photos, paintings, drawings, sketches, video, sculpture, and more. Many of them recreate some of the common themes shown in artwork featuring women, and having the subjects be men highlights many of the points that feminists, gender theorists, and artists have been saying for years.  You can see a preview here or in the video below.

The show runs from November 4-30, with a reception tonight from 6-9 pm. If you’re in the area, I highly recommend it. 934 Brannan St. between 9th & 10th

Also, Anna Pulley tweeted that she and Jiz Lee invite you to participate in a contest inspired by this exhibit!

Here’s how to enter:

Tweet a photo of your man as an object along with the hashtag#manasobject for a chance at the Grand Prize. If you want your entry retweeted by @somarts, tag us!

Tweet (or retweet) contest entry details with the hashtag#manasobject for a shot at the Pivot Prize. Each tweet with contest entry details and the hashtag #manasobject represents one chance to win. Tweet often to enter more than once!

What Do I Win?

The Grand Prize for the winning photo is a bag of  Good Vibrations goodies, including:

  • A steamy piece of literature by Miranda Austin
  • A  7-function waterproof  “personal massager”
  • A second “personal massager” in the shape of a sea mammal
  • A game for couples
  • Other mystery “unmentionables” that would make your mother blush

The Grand Prize winning photo will be digitally displayed and the winner announced during the closing reception, film screening & panel discussion on November 30, 6–9pm.

The Pivot Prize is a a 200 page, full-color catalog created for Man as Object: Reversing the Gaze, featuring essays by Lynn Hershman Leeson, Annie M. Sprinkle, and more.

Who Picks The Winner?

San Francisco’s hottest sexperts Jiz Lee & Anna Pulley will select the winner of the Grand Prize. Winner of the Pivot Prize will be chosen at random from the pool of tweets spreading the word about the contest.

The Rules

Contest ends at 11:59PM on Tuesday, November 11, 2011. Submit your original photography. No more than (3) entries per Twitter user will be considered for judging. A maximum of (3) attempts will be made to notify the winners through Twitter. Winners must respond within 14 days to coordinate the receipt of their prizes in-person or by mail. SOMArts Cultural Center will cover shipping costs to addresses within the United States only. Contest entries above are curated to prevent the display of irrelevant tweets; all qualifying photo entries will be submitted for judging. Staff and family members of SOMArts Cultural Center can enter, but are not eligible to win.

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