Boys will be boys 

There is a long tradition of political and artistic concern for how women are treated in a society. It's called "feminism." But there's no such term to encapsulate the gender typecasting of being male.

However, the provocative show PG-13: Male Adolescent Identity in the Age of Video Culture at Georgia State University's Art & Design Gallery suggests that, like girls, boys play their own scripted roles and are equally vulnerable under the unrelenting shill of the media machine.

In her darkly captivating video "Stronger," artist Barbara Pollack superimposes small video images of three adolescent boys over a supersized Britney Spears video. The boys move from expressions of stuporous rapture to ones of wisecracking distance as they respond to the video. "Stronger" beautifully captures their floundering confusion in the face of the media's unambiguous sexual provocations. In her video "Perfect Dark," that vulnerability shifts into intimidating aggression as the artist juxtaposes her son's expressionless face next to the violent video game he plays; he pumps countless bullets into felled bodies, walking deeper into a labyrinth of destruction.

If media critique is Pollack's bag, thinly veiled erotics are Janet Biggs'. Previous work examined how sex and power often underpin the relationship between horses and the girls who love them. And in two video works for PG-13, Biggs exhibits that same interest in covert sensuality and aggression, this time filtered through the masculine pursuits of music and sports.

Biggs recruited some Chamblee High School wrestlers to grapple for "Tegretol," which recalls Matthew Barney's video work with its color-drenched sports spectacle and interest in the male body's brawn and beauty. Biggs explores how tenderness and fury battle for control over these high school warriors. In "Ritalin," Biggs again mixes aggression with a hint of sexuality in an intoxicating video of a towheaded preteen playing the drums with delirious abandon. His androgynous, man-child attitude exemplifies much of the work in PG-13, of boys experimenting with, or being tutored in, the social roles they will play.


PG-13: Male Adolescent Identity in the Age of Video Culture runs through March 5 at the Georgia State University Art & Design Gallery, 10 Peachtree Center Ave. Mon.-Fri., 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sat., noon-4 p.m. 404-651-0489. www.gsu.edu/artgallery.

Tags:

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Latest in Visual Arts

Readers also liked…

More by Felicia Feaster

The Ultimate Doughnut Smackdown
The Ultimate Doughnut Smackdown

Search Events

  1. ATL's top four comedy clubs 2

    Get your laugh on, Atlanta
  2. 2014 Creative Loafing Fiction Contest 3

    Finding the myriad meanings in this year's theme, "Race"
  3. ‘Sweeney Todd’ still cuts to the quick

    Kevin Harry’s baritone tops off Sondheim’s classic musical thriller at Actor’s Express

Recent Comments

© 2016 Creative Loafing Atlanta
Powered by Foundation