XY, Spencer Museum of Art Exhibit

September 11, 2009

Today I attended a viewing of the XY exhibit at the Spencer Museum of Art. It was special because there were lots of interesting women, cucumber martinis, sushi, and most importantly, the exhibit’s curator. He was the only male in the group, full of good humor and very gracious as he led the female entourage through the show pointing out subtle things that only the curator could point out: The Leighton sculpture of an ideal young man stretching was set in front of the Mapplethorpe photos of the exact same sculpture; A 1950s Jewish painting of a physically ravaged man is next to a painting of a 1930s Japanese full figured youth; A 20th century magazine engraving of a men’s department store faces a much earlier engraving of the circumcision of the Christ child. Men are shown clean, polished, pumped, war ravaged, deflated, young, middle aged, and old.

This exhibit is well designed, giving viewers an excellent reference point to discuss sexuality, which is so difficult in our culture. The social, political and cultural forces on male sexuality are shown through a variety of works, some forceful, some poignant, some beautiful, all shedding light on what it means to be a man. Bravo Spencer Museum of Art!

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