Weekly Issue - 2007-10-15
‘I Love Men’
Feminist art portrays men in different media
Jennifer Murray
This photo, part of a collection of 16 photos called ‘The Air Guitar Series’ that Julia Hechtman took in 2003. Hechtman found a group of men to jam to their favorite rock songs and took pictures of them rocking out during the songs.

Loving a man and being a feminist is actually a reality. An increasing number of feminists are dismissing the stereotype that feminists are anti-masculine, man-hating individuals. The exhibition, “Girl on Guy: the object of my desire,” hopes to dispel those negative opinions and show feminist art in a more tender, positive light.

Forget the stereotype of angst-ridden feminists who despise men; today there are more feminists embracing manhood.

Columbia’s A+D Gallery, located in the 619 S. Wabash Ave. Building, is hosting a new exhibit, titled “Girl on Guy: the object of my desire.” The exhibition begins on Sept. 27 and runs until Nov. 3. The exhibit focuses on dispelling the notion that feminists dislike males.

“This exhibit is my heartfelt declaration in the belief that loving men and being a feminist is not a contradiction,” said Marci Rae McDade, the curator of “Girl on Guy” and a working artist. “[‘Girl on Guy’ is] about the positive, sensual portrayal of men.”

McDade, who graduated from Columbia in 1994 with a degree in film and video, pitched the idea to Jennifer Murray, the director of the A+D Gallery, Sabina Ott, chair of the Art and Design Department, and Elizabeth Burke-Dain, the media relations associate for “Girl on Guy.”

“We are very excited about the exhibit and we hope it generates a lot of interest and discussion,” Murray said.

Dismissing the perception that feminists are critical towards men through “Girl on Guy” was an opportunity that McDade was thrilled to have.

“I have curated ‘Girl on Guy’ to offer a constructive platform upon which to seriously consider the importance and merits of this work,” McDade said.

The exhibit opens during a time where there is an important feminist movementgoing on globally. “Girl on Guy” adds to the modern art movement by “embracing the male subject in a positive way,” McDade said.

“Its important today to reconsider the significance of our feminine desires and to value the quality of our relationships with men,” McDade said.

McDade hopes to stir lots of conversation about feminist art. But she is aware that students will also come for the “fun, racy artwork.”

“The show is designed for a younger crowd,” McDade said, adding there will be a living room area in the front of the gallery so guests may read and look at some of the work there.

“Girl on Guy” includes paintings, videos, photography, sculptures, conceptual text, fiber art, a sound installation, a movement performance and a sketchbook of drawings and musings.

Many of the 25 artists were already on-board and McDade had the initial proposal set in stone.

“The timing and opportunity came together,” McDade said.

Many of the feminist artists were found by McDade. She did a lot of research, went to gallery exhibits and she contacted the artists to be a part of the line-up. Some of the artists are Chicago-based, such as Stephanie Brooks, Riva Lehrer, Torreyanna Barley and Cynthia Plaster Caster, and they agreed to be a part of the show.

Caster, notorious for her plaster casts of rock star penises, will have three of her sculptures present at the echibit.

Students around campus are aware of “Girl on Guy” and of the concept of feminism in today’s society.

“I think that feminism teaches women to be independent and my views are that women want their rights to be equal like men,” said Dan Polyak, freshman graphic design major. “I’m interested in seeing this exhibit and [seeing what] feminist art and what their portrayal of men is like.”

Many of the works depict men in everyday situations such as sleeping, bathing and standing in front of a Volkswagen.

There are erotic pictures sewn into cloth, comic strips and drawings of sexual role reversals. “Girl on Guy” also features three sketchbooks from Barley.

“[The sketchbooks] are a journal of my life and what’s going on in my head,” Barley said.Even though one of her sketchbooks was stolen before she could submit it to the exhibit, her three remaining sketchbooks captures much more than life, they capture her experiences and moods, sometimes abstract, and mostly figurative, Barley said.

Barley said she credits her father as one of the “most loving individuals” she has ever met. Also, she said that falling in love with different men and discovering love also prompted her to express her love for men through art.

“[Society’s] idea of feminism is different than what it actually is. It’s more about love and equality,” Barley said. “I love men!”