Michael Freed hosts art shows in his studio several times a year and curates one of those shows himself. “Known Subverts,” which opens from 6-8 p.m. on July 15, features a group of artists Freed invited to display works that question, critique, mock, parody, confront or otherwise challenge societal, systemic and institutional norms.
“I can’t think of a time in my life when everything I grew up believing has been challenged to the very core of my being,” he explains. “So I decided to curate a show that celebrates the role of subversiveness, but not only political subversion. I also want to celebrate artists who challenge norms in other arenas.”
Freed’s personal contribution to the show picks up a thread from a series of three mixed media sculptures he created four years ago which explores the confines that culture places on the male penis. “These societal constructs are not healthy or realistic when they don’t address the very natural anatomical aspects of the male organ or the healthy innate feelings around male sexuality,” he says.
Freed sees his sculptures as working on many different levels. “In the series for this show, I took the construct of the caged phallus from the earlier edition and reframed it as an energy that is breaking out, busting loose, or peeling back society’s cage for freedom and playful joy,” he says. “The series can easily be interpreted as any personal oppression seeking freedom from whatever confines are restricting it, such as gender inequality and repressive laws or rules that are racist, sexist, homophobic or ageist.”
Participating artists include Niomi Fawn, Geoff Banzhof, Shirley Klinghoffer and Erika Wanenmacher. Freed also introduces the work of eight year-old Wyatt Giles. “In my opinion, he’s doing some insightful and inspirational art,” Freed adds.
Although the show is focused on the opening, the works also can be viewed by appointment from July 17 through 22 by calling 505.670.9276.