The human race has always had trouble accepting the differences between genders, sexual orientation and sexual preference. The people who accept these differences have used many different outlets to express their sensibilities. One of those outlets has always been art. Examples of that art were on display at the Maccarone Art Gallery’s Coming to Power exhibit. This exhibit, curated by Julie Tolentino, uses the explicit photography, paintings, sculptures and videos of women artists to make a statement on how sexuality and genders are perceived.
Stepping into the gallery, you’re immediately introduced to three different forms of contraception: a condom, a cervical cap and a birth control pill; all three presented on separate black columns. Above the columns, was a painting of a woman displaying her genitals in a bed. Across from the columns, were two large black and white photographs of women dominating men sexually. This could be off-putting at first but upon further examination one can begin to understand how the societal norms of sexuality are being broken by this exhibit.
By being overwhelmed by these graphic images forces you to let go of any apprehension you might have towards seeing explicit sex acts. As you go deeper into the gallery, the graphicness of the exhibit starts to fade away and the people in these art pieces take on a new sense of strength. For example, one of the pieces was a photo of a naked woman holding a phallic sex toy in way that suggests that its her own genitals. The strength is in the phallic symbol and it being held by a woman further illustrates the theme of realizing your power through sexuality.
The relevancy of this exhibit is even more apparent, when you take in the fact that gender norms and sexuality have been consistently challenged for the last millennium.