Flex considers intersections of muscular physiques and heroic images, how they represent changing notions of bravery, beauty, and health. Sculpted bodies become sites of desire, power, and cultural performance, where different types of identity acquire definition, much as muscles do. This exhibition demonstrates how certain classical ideals are referenced and re-articulated in modern art and media, whether employed to authorize or to interrogate modern constructions of masculinity. Dramatic physical transformations are often accompanied by a rhetoric of self-improvement along with rituals of self-devotion, which might tacitly or explicitly endorse ageism or ableism. Flex looks carefully at muscled images, but also reflects upon the unrelenting gaze through which bodies are continually scrutinized, criticized, and corrected—if not perfected. 
Exhibition Name
Exhibition Type
Faculty Curated
Group Exhibitions
Malloy Wing
Feb 22, 2020 - Jun 7, 2020
Flex is co-curated by Dan Curley, Associate Professor of Classics, and Gregory Spinner, Teaching Professor in Religious Studies.
Harry Benson, Robert Mapplethorpe, Michael Stokes, Tom of Finland, Boris Vallejo
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