Superheroes and celebrities, totems and toys: the imagery of manufactured fantasy is reframed in the visual language of historical iconography in this multi-media exploration of popular culture today. With unprecedented access to an audience of one’s own, we find affirmation onscreen, and venerate fame as a final destination. As the real and the virtual increasingly collide, boundaries between art and media further blur, inspiring new mythologies realized in new materials: stars of stage, screen, and sport are re-envisioned, offering insight into how desire shapes identity. Appropriating images and practices from commerce, science, politics, religion, sports, and technology, these artists illuminate recent shifts in how culture is being created and consumed.
Leonce Raphael Agbodjélou's portraits of male athletes present alternatives to the highly masculine, heteronormative realm of professional sports by subverting stereotypes and downplaying typical references to masculinity. Agbodjélou presents bodybuilders set against a colorful, patterned background holding vases of flowers; their pose recalling images from classical mythology of the three muses.
Words by 21c Museum Hotel