Beside Himself – Exhibiting Male Anxiety combines art, cinema, everyday objects, and fabricated vignettes to explore how the relationship between masculinity and anxiety manifests itself in cultural production. The exhibition features works by men and women. Artists include: Vito Acconci, Trisha Baga, Tim Davis, Marie de Saint Phalle, Alisha Kerlin, Sean Landers, Neal Medlyn, Bryan Zanisnik, a shared project by Seth Kelly and Karsten Krejcarek, as well as a collaborative contribution from art students at the University of Oregon (Cam Brand, Allison Fonder, Willa Frazer, and Andrew Taylor).
Beside Himself includes existing works, dating as far back at the 1970s with Vito Acconci’s audio “Under-History Lessons” and the 1990s with Sean Landers’ video “Dancing with Death.” The majority of the art in Beside Himself, however, was created in the last few years. Several pieces were made specifically for the exhibition, including a drawing project (Kelly/Krejcarek), a large sculpture (de Saint Phalle), and an installation (Kerlin). Anxiety is either an existing element in these artists’ work and/or they are reacting to the themes and materials in the exhibition.
About half way through the curatorial process, the exhibition’s structure and my thinking became increasingly influenced by the movie Husbands, as well as the interconnected, repeated themes in director John Cassavetes’ movies and his unapologetic embrace of ambiguity, imperfection, and love.