On Feb. 3, iMOCA will open an exhibit created with the Super Bowl in mind. Hard Targets curated by Christopher Bedford, chief curator of the Wexner Center for the Arts, takes on sports and masculinity as its central themes.
Images of women — from the goddess Venus to the Virgin Mary — have long been a classic subject in visual arts. In Hard Targets, varied treatments of masculinity get a turn in the spotlight. 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. The artists in the show instead investigate sports and masculine identity through topics ranging from biology to business to celebrity, played out in locker rooms, stadiums, and advertising campaigns.
In the videos, photographs, paintings, sculptures, and installations of Hard Targets, visitors will find projects that are funny, irreverent, sexy, incisive, and poignant. Featured artists in the show are: Mark Bradford, Cary Leibowitz, Catherine Opie, Paul Pfeiffer, Joe Sola, Hank Willis Thomas, and Jonas Wood.
In their examinations, you’ll discover how the ways we view and consume sports stars and athletic events are structured by systems of desire and identification more complex (and more fascinating) than most spectators and fans ever realize.