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LaGrange Art Museum to exhibit photos of men of the South

Installation is underway at the LaGrange Art Museum for a photography exhibition that examines multiple way of visualizing the New American South and the men that live in it. “Looking Male” will open on Feb. 5.

The exhibit was curated Columbus State University art professors Rylan Steele and Michael McFalls, who is also director of Pasaquan and a LaGrange Art Museum board member. Steele and McFalls collaborated on this exhibition, which was drawn from the Do Good Fund collection. 

According to a press release from LAM, the Do Good Fund, Inc. is a Columbus, Georgia based public charity. Since its founding in 2012, the fund has focused on building a museum-quality collection of photographs taken in the American South since World War II. The collection ranges from works by more than twenty Guggenheim Fellows to images by lesser known and emerging photographers working in the region.

Do Good’s mission is to make its collection of more than 600 images broadly accessible through regional museums, nonprofit galleries, and nontraditional venues and to encourage complementary, community-based programming to accompany each exhibition.

The Looking Male exhibition will feature 51 photographs from both male and female photographers.

LAM Executive Director Laura Jennings said that the exhibit invites critique, analysis and investigation for what it means to be a man in the South. The curators of “Looking Male” are both artists and educators that grew up in the South and currently call Georgia home.

The museum chose the photographs included in this exhibition because they allowed the curators to talk about the only perspective they can see the world from: Southern, middle class, white and male. This exhibition offers two varied but similar points of view. It is intended to be evaluated in a nuanced manner without being exclusive to an identity.

“Almost everyone has an idea or image of a Southern male. Perhaps, that image centers around economics or class,” McFalls said. “Maybe it is inscribed by the South’s relationship to slavery and race; nevertheless, most of us can conjure up an image in our minds. Throughout the curating process, it was my goal to present the Southern male in all of their complexity. The photographs in this exhibition serve as a foil against the conventional ideas of Southern maleness. They were chosen, in part, to move beyond the quintessential, classic male image. This exhibition offers multiple ways of visualizing the American South and the men that live in it. I believe we were attempting to bring into focus the diversity of the Southern man of today.”

Due to current health guidelines, those who wish to attend the opening reception Feb. 5 must register online for a timed entry online.

Time slots are available from 5 to 8 p.m. Masks must be worn. The exhibition will run through April 3.

The museum, located at 112 Lafayette Parkway, is open Tuesdays through Fridays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays from 1 to 4 p.m.