February 5 – April 3, 2021
Looking Male offers multiple ways of visualizing the New American South and the men that live in it. The idea of the Southern male generated through personal experience, combined with the persisting effects of stereotypes, and spurred by vernacular photographs limits our ability to see the real men of the South. Many of these flawed and widely viewed images have become facts that people unconsciously rely upon to support their opinion of the region.
The combination of photographs presents issues centered on desire, race, religion, class, and gender. The curators repeatedly questioned the selections; the calculus was to create a balance, which would represent and capture the southern male’s multi-faceted essence. While the images were primarily chosen based on what was depicted and the aesthetic qualities of representation, we acknowledge that some of the complexity might only reveal itself by releasing further didactic information. For example, does an image of a black man change if it’s revealed that it was created by a white photographer or a black photographer, a man or a woman? If you know that the artist recreated a scene for the sake of the photograph, does that influence one’s interpretation of the resulting image?
Curated by Rylan Steele and Michael McFalls from works in The Do Good Fund Collection the selected 51 photographs by 22 male and female artists were drawn from a broad and diverse collection of over 600 images. The curators of Looking Male are both artists and educators that grew up in the South and currently call Georgia home. The photographs included in this exhibition were chosen because it allowed the curators to talk about the only perspective they can see the world from: southern, middle class, white, and male. This exhibition offers two varied but similar points of view. It is intended to be evaluated in a nuanced manner without being exclusive to an identity. Looking Male represents what the curators know and understand. This exhibition invites critique, analysis, investigation, and admiration for what it means to be a man in the South
The Do Good Fund, Inc. is a Columbus, Georgia based public charity. Since its founding in 2012, the fund has focused on building a museum-quality collection of photographs taken in the American South since World War II. The collection ranges from works by more than twenty Guggenheim Fellows to images by lesser known and emerging photographers working in the region.
Do Good’s mission is to make its collection of more than 600 images broadly accessible through regional museums, nonprofit galleries, and nontraditional venues and to encourage complementary, community-based programming to accompany each exhibition. WWW.THEDOGOODFUND.ORG