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Exploring gender identity, masculinity, femininity and transgender issues through art

“Gender” exhibition at Central Michigan University features key LGBTQ topics

​​Ten artists from the United States, Canada and South Korea explore gender identity, masculinity, femininity and transgenderism in a new University Art Gallery exhibition.

"I see a real brave examination of gender issues in this generation," said Anne Gochenour, gallery director and curator at the University Art Gallery. "That is what motivated me to do this show. I wanted to see what artists were saying about gender."

The exhibition features paintings, prints, photography, sculpture, performance and videos by Jack Balas, Cassils, John Clarke, Jess Dugan, Catherine Forster, Brenda Oelbaum, Jono Vaughan and JeongMee Yoon. The opening reception for "Gender" is from 4 to 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 15, at the University Art Gallery. The exhibit will be open from Friday, Oct. 16, to Saturday, Nov. 14.

"It's a cultural phenomenon that people are questioning the idea of being identified as their gender," Gochenour said. "It's the next step of feminism and identity politics."

Shannon Jolliff-Dettore, director of LGBTQ Services, said she would like to see the exhibition begin a conversation about what gender means to each individual person.

"Many of the artists being shown explore gender outside of the binary," she said. "We should celebrate the way that each individual presents their gender to the world. I hope this exhibit allows viewers to begin understanding the individual celebration of gender as well as the empowerment that exists when people can just be."

As part of the exhibition, DarkMatter, an art performance group from New York City, will perform Friday, Oct. 23, at 7 p.m. in the Bovee UC Auditorium.

"DarkMatter is a trans south Asian performance art duo," Gochenour said. "They do something similar to a poetry slam. Some of their stuff is kind of angry. It's about racism and gender issues. They're critical of the gay movement being so white male."

The performance is sponsored by the Stephen L. Barstow Art and Design Lecture Series and LGBTQ Services.

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