Man as Object: Reversing the Gaze

To anyone living in the San Francisco area, there’s a great exhibit currently on display at the SOMArts Cultural Center entitled, “Man as Object: Reversing the Gaze“. This show promotes discussion about women and men’s roles as subject, creator, and viewer in art.

Left: Superman by Molly Marie Nuzzo (2006) Right: Distinguishing Attributes, #2 by Brie Castel (2006)

As a society we are used to women being the subject of art, we are used to women being constantly looked at, the subject of the male gaze. In the words of art critic John Berger, “Men act and women appear. Men look at women. Women watch themselves being looked at”.

This show reverses that process. Men are the subject and the audience is presumed to be women, creating a new dynamic in which the female gaze holds power. This exchange of historical roles seems to have produced some powerful work from female/feminist/transgender perspectives and looks to be a great exhibit. Check it out if you get the chance!

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