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Hard Targets


Catherine Opie, Josh, 2007

Hard Targets

Jan 30, 2010–Apr 11, 2010

This exhibition takes on sports and masculinity as its central themes in a collection of some 70 thought-provoking artworks created over the past 25 years by 21 different artists.

Images of women—from the goddess Venus to the Virgin Mary—have long been a classic subject in visual arts. In Hard Targets, varied treatments of masculinity get a turn in the spotlight. Hard Targets seeks to revise and complicate our time-honored stereotypes of male athletes and athleticism (as aggressive, heterosexual, hypercompetitive, and remote) by presenting alternative, possibly more democratic, interpretations of subjects frequently revealed to us only in authorized and frankly commercial images. The artists in the show instead investigate sports and masculine identity through topics ranging from biology to business to celebrity, played out in locker rooms, stadiums, and advertising campaigns.

In the videos, photographs, paintings, sculptures, and installations of Hard Targets, you’ll find projects that are funny, irreverent, sexy, incisive, and poignant. Featured artists in the show, which was organized by Curator of Exhibitions Christopher Bedford, are Doug Aitken, Matthew Barney, Mark Bradford, Harun Farocki, Andreas Gursky, Douglas Gordon, David Hammons, Brian Jungen, Byron Kim, Jeff Koons, Cary Leibowitz, Glenn Ligon, Kori Newkirk, Catherine Opie, Philippe Parreno, Paul Pfeiffer, Collier Schorr, Joe Sola, Sam Taylor-Wood, Hank Willis Thomas, and Jonas Wood. In their examinations, you’ll discover how the ways we view and consume sports stars and athletic events are structured by systems of desire and identification more complex (and more fascinating) than most spectators and fans ever realize.

Buy-one-get-one admission offer for sports fans
Bring a ticket to any current season OSU sporting event when you come to the Wexner Center and get one free ticket to Hard Targets when you buy one.

Also on view: Let the Games Begin
Ohio State's Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum offers another look at attitudes toward sports and athletes in Let the Games Begin: A Century of Sports Cartoons. The exhibition is on view through April 9 in the Cartoon Library & Museum's Reading Room Gallery. Find out more at

Exhibition credits
Hard Targets is a revised presentation of Mixed Signals: Artists Consider Masculinity in Sports, a traveling exhibition organized and circulated by iCI (Independent Curators International), New York, that was itself an expanded version of Contemporary Projects 11: Hard Targets—Masculinity and Sports, an exhibition organized by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. (Christopher Bedford is the curator of all three presentations.) The Mixed Signals exhibition, tour, and catalogue were made possible, in part, by The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, the iCI Advocates, the iCI Partners, Agnes Gund, Gerrit and Sydie Lansing, and Barbara and John Robinson.

Attending this exhibition? Let your friends know and RSVP on Facebook.

O-H-I-O, Hard Targets (Big Ten Network)

Big Ten Network - O-H-I-O - Hard Targets from Wexner Center on Vimeo.


Continue reading for complete image credits. Complete image captions

Matthew Barney
CREMASTER 4 (still), 1994
35mm film with sound, 42 mins.
Courtesy of Gladstone Gallery, New York

Jonas Wood
Greg Oden, 2008
Gouache and colored pencil on paper
30 x 22 in.
Courtesy of the artist, Anton Kern Gallery, New York, and Shane Campbell Gallery, Chicago

Joe Sola
Saint Henry Composition (still), 2001
Single-channel video with sound
5 mins., 7 secs.
Courtesy of Bespoke Gallery, New York;
production support provided by the Wexner Center for the Arts

Catherine Opie
Josh, 2007
Chromogenic print
30 x 22 1/4 in.
Courtesy of the artist and Regen Projects, Los Angeles

Hank Willis Thomas
Scarred Chest, 2003
Lightjet print
30 x 20 in.
Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York

Paul Pfeiffer
Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (28), 2007
Fujiflex digital chromogenic print
48 x 60 in.
Courtesy of the artist and The Project, New York

Cary Leibowitz
Misery Pennants, 1990
4 felt pennants
9 1/4 x 24 in. each
Courtesy of Alexander Gray Associates, New York


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