2022 OSG Awardee LA Freewaves presents X-aMEN-ing Masculinities

LOS ANGELES (Aug. 17, 2022) -- On Thursday, Oct. 6, 2022, at the Los Angeles State Historic Park, LA Freewaves will host X-aMEN-ing Masculinities, a multi-faceted artistic extravaganza examining masculinity from a wide range of perspectives and through multiple mediums. This event features performance art and installations by Paul Donald, rafa esparza, d. Sabela grimes, Asher Hartman, Sarah Johnson, Sean Milan, Phranc, José Guadalupe Sanchez and Austin Young; videos by Cassils, Patty Chang, Tony Cokes, Shaun Leonardo, Kenneth Tam; and visual art by Alex Donis. The racially, ethnically, generationally, and gender diverse group of artists will engage with the concept of masculinity through a variety of lenses, both positive and negative, critical and irreverent. Together, their works will create a carnivalesque experience exploring the meanings of masculinity in 2022. The evening’s finale will feature a House Ball of masculine identifying performers competing in three categories; military in pink, dip and spin in a skirt, and wearable masks, with judges and a DJ. The contest is open to all. * (details below) X-aMEN-ing Masculinities, curated by Anne Bray, Marcus Kuiland-Nazario and Anuradha Vikram, is the latest iteration of LA Freewaves’ ongoing online and public art presentations exploring gender, diversity, and transition. For one night only, under a full moon, 15 established artists will stage an expansive, interactive space where emotionally positive and socially constructive elements historically identified as “masculine” will be reclaimed from the “toxic” paradigm that both dominates and flattens public discourse.

The event’s location is particularly fitting, according to Anne Bray, LA Freewaves executive director and curator of the project. “Prior to 2001, the Los Angeles State Historic Park was a railroad brownfield, where the surrounding communities fought hard for a park and neighborhood amenities,” she explains. “This event continues their efforts in more social spheres.”

With X-aMEN-ing Masculinities, Freewaves brings nuance and diverse perspectives to an oft-criticized concept of masculinity, bringing together works that consider and compare paradigms of masculinity, including male bonding rituals, trans masculinity, masculine paradigms of care, and uses of power. Artists whose lives and work challenge expectations of masculinity, such as those assigned male at birth who identify as nonbinary or femme, are included.

Masculinity, which is often, though not exclusively represented, by men, is the lingua franca of power in a patriarchal social structure. Artists, especially those who use performance, are adept at making power relations both apparent and absurd, a tactic that many of those invited to participate in X-aMEN-ing Masculinities will employ.

Similar to FREEWAVES 2018’s Ain’t I A Womxn? and 2019’s Love &/Or Fear, X-aMEN-ing Masculinities will be an unforgettable gathering of the coteries, in which gender and race are de-segmentized and reorganized around a half-mile circular promenade of art -- stationary and roving, durational and scheduled, performance art, spoken word, visual art, and video art.

Partners: Go Metro, L.A. State Historic Park, and Feminist Creative Center for Work.

Funders: Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts, National Endowment for the Arts, City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, and Los Angeles County Arts Commission.

*The Masc for Mask Finale: An Artistic Exhibition of Masculinity within the House/Ballroom Communityfeaturing Season 1 Winner of HBO's "Legendary" Torie Balmain as commentator. Open to all, in three categories: (1) All-American Runway: Army vs Navy vs Air Force vs Marines- Walk the runway as one of these branches in all PINK; (2) Old Way Vogue- Pop Dip and Spin in a skirt; and (3) Masc for Mask Presentation: Present us with wearable art that expresses your view of masculinity.