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Powderpuff: A Collaborative Art Exhibition comes to MTSU's Todd Art Gallery

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Photo courtesy of MTSU Art Department
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Photo courtesy of MTSU Art Department

Powderpuff is an installation by MTSU and VCU (Virginia Commonwealth University) students showcasing collaborative and individual work intended to bring an element of flamboyance and humor to an often serious space while simultaneously aiming to reinterpret female stereotypes. An opening reception will be held on Thursday, July 10, 2014 from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. in MTSU’s Todd Art Gallery 210 located near the center of campus in Todd Hall.

The exhibition includes work from MTSU students Erin Aliquo, Mika Mollenkopf, Erin Potter and Alison Ford, and VCU student, Laura McAdams. The work in the show focuses on the feminine reclamation of traditionally masculine objects. For example, the floor and walls are lined with former football field AstroTurf which is surrounded by the stereotypically feminine color, hot pink. From this contrast, the show draws its name, Powderpuff, which refers to the all-female football teams at many high schools.

The show includes many references to football and tail-gaiting culture, because of their association with masculinity. The artists aim to put a new spin on these ideas by filling the space with items, images, and colors, such as hot pink and floral wallpapers, which are stereotypically associated with women. The exhibition utilizes hot pink, not to make a statement against football, but to encourage female empowerment within traditional symbols of masculine culture. It exposes the farce that any of these symbols are inherently associated with a specific gender through comedic elements.

The show serves as a humorous escape from the usual stresses and heavy themes of most gender political work. The lighthearted approach to these works may seem frivolous, but the joking tone talks about important issues without overloading the viewer. The irreverent objects ease the atmosphere of a show that could easily be fraught with tension and controversy. The irreverence towards gender politics is not meant to disregard it as a valid issue, but instead point out the existence of these problems as absurd. For example, the AstroTurf phrase “BUTTS” placed on the wall simultaneously references sports and dated sweatpants through the material choices and typeface. The combination of the traditionally masculine and feminine objects to show they are not mutually exclusive.

Although there are individual works by each artist, the showcase as a whole has been largely collaborative. The artists hope the space will remind viewers that art can be fun and accessible while encouraging them to contemplate relevant issues, such as the pervasiveness of gender stereotypes in contemporary culture.

All AstroTurf used in the exhibition is reclaimed from the MTSU stadium’s discarded field. Special thanks to MTSU athletics for their cooperation and support.

Powderpuff will be on display in the Todd Art Gallery 210 July 7-18, 2014. Gallery hours are Monday-Friday 8:30 am- 4:30 pm. The Gallery is closed on state and university holidays.

The Todd Art Gallery exhibitions, lectures, and receptions are free and open to the public. For parking and other information: Eric Snyder, 898-5653.

Quick Facts:
Reception: July 10, 2014 p.m.
Dates: July 7-18, 2014
Location: Todd Art Gallery 210, MTSU Todd Hall
With the exception of holidays, the exhibit and reception are free and open to the public.
For further information or directions 898-5653

Tagged under  art, gallery, mtsu, powderpuff, todd

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