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Call for Papers: MOSF Journal of Science Fiction

 

We are soliciting manuscripts to be featured in the Museum of Science Fiction’s Journal of Science Fiction (MOSF Journal of Science Fiction,http://publish.lib.umd.edu/scifi/index). The inaugural issue will be released in January 2016. The MOSF Journal of Science Fiction is completely Open Access—there are no submission or subscription fees required.

We are particularly interested in works that offer insight into the myriad facets of science fiction in all its different manifestations as well as works emphasizing the interdisciplinary and innovative history of science fiction.

Science fiction transcends boundaries of the imagination; thus, submissions from all academic fields are welcome and will undergo the same review process.

Please send a letter of inquiry to the Managing Editor of MOSF Journal of Science Fiction if you are interested in submitting book reviews, academic columns, or short essays; articles may be submitted unsolicited.

Manuscripts should be submitted as .doc, .docx, or .rtf files. All submissions should be in APA style. The text of the manuscript and the reference list should be submitted as a single file. Article manuscripts should be 5,000 to 8,000 words long. Please submit manuscripts through the MOSF Journal of Science Fiction website. More details about submission formatting requirements, authors’ publication rights, and the peer review process are also available through this site.

Please contact Monica Louzon (monica.louzon@museumofsciencefiction.org) if you have any further questions.

About the Museum of Science Fiction

The nonprofit Museum of Science Fiction (http://www.museumofsciencefiction.org/) will be the world’s first comprehensive science fiction museum, covering the history of the genre across the arts and providing a narrative on its relationship to the real world. The Museum will show how science fiction continually inspires individuals, influences cultures, and impacts societies. Also serving as an educational catalyst to expand interest in the science, technology, engineering, art, and math (STEAM) areas, the Museum uses tools such as mobile applications and wifi-enabled display objects to engage and entertain.

Representations of Masculinity Exhibit Review

“Representations of Masculinity: Where are all the Naked Men?” Art Exhibit, MAC650 Gallery, 650 Main Street, Middletown, CT October 1-17, 2015.

 

12032668_10101480520726650_5100137060353992171_oMAC650, an art gallery in Middletown, CT, recently hosted a show curated by artist Hannah King of New Haven showcasing artistic explorations of masculinity and male nakedness in a variety of artistic media. King was inspired to focus on this theme after attending a photography show at MAC650 over a year ago that had been billed as celebrating the nude in photography. Struck by the overwhelming presence of naked women in the show, she decided to respond to the art world’s tendency to overrepresent women as nudes and to underrepresent naked men by creating a show focusing solely on the male body. The show features forty-four artworks by nineteen Connecticut based artists.

All nineteen participating artists created pieces that explore the diverse facets of masculinity and nakedness. In the exhibition catalog, each artist submitted a statement explaining his/her motivation for contributing to the show. Most cite an interest in demystifying or desexualizing nudity in general and many confront established perceptions of the male body. Some aim to playfully subvert artistic notions of beauty or strength by placing naked men in mundane or silly settings (rather than on pedestals or scallop shells) or by posing their models in desexualized and unflattering positions. For example, Samuel G. Carson submitted four small ink and graphite drawings of a generic looking guy in unglamorous poses: squatting in a simian posture, chugging milk from the jug naked, petting his cat while watching videos and measuring his average sized penis with a ruler. Other artists responded to the show’s theme by highlighting penises on their canvas such as Ellen King’s ink and graphite Falls or Sophie Peters’ The Grace of You oil painting. Both pieces present penises in a non-threatening and unglorified manner welcoming the viewer to contemplate the most fundamental aspects of nakedness.

Hannah King’s four small photographs convey the intention and challenges of the show beautifully. Her piece Gaze features a close up of a nude model folded tightly into himself and half obscured by shadows. His expression can be read as slack, disinterested, disempowered. The unnamed model gazes directly at the viewer and holds our eye. His eyes appear to be the most naked aspect of his being. Viewers become acutely aware of the power of his gaze, which is now turned back on us- not coyly or hostilely, but almost thoughtfully and with an invitation to reflect upon the relationship between the naked subject and the clothed consumer of art.

Anna Mastropolo’s mixed media painting of gouache, charcoal, paper and clay offers viewers one of the most vulnerable visions of masculinity titled To Breathe, the Feel, to Know I’m Alive. Using warm but muted browns, purples and earth tones, she has captured the subject’s emotionally complex reaction to his own nakedness. Standing in a nearly Christ-like pose, the thin, bearded male figure appears confused and uncertain and at the mercy of the artist and viewer for whom he must present his small, unclothed body.

The most heart-breaking pieces in the show are Danielle Julius’s two oil paintings: Born to be Hated and Dying to be Loved. Both offer visions of black men who wear pants but whose shirtless muscular torsos feel more naked than some of the other artists’ works. With bowed heads and hidden faces, these models remind viewers that even the strongest bodies can still be broken and damaged and that masculine beauty can be a liability rather than an asset.

MAC650 Gallery serves as the exhibit space for the North End Artist Co-operative in Middletown, which provides residential and studio space for local artists. The gallery and apartments are owned and operated by the artists/residents whose mission include “working together to bring quality art to the people of Middletown”. This show involved the community and artists in several capacities. Jesse Newman, who contributed three photographs to the show, also performed with his band during the opening on October 1. The show also included an artist-led male figure drawing class on October 8, which was attended by approximately twenty people from the area.

This was a powerful, interesting and successful show. Hannah King realizes her twin goals of offering viewers, collectors and artists opportunities to experience the male body in art and of addressing the discrepancy between the use of female and male nudity by both normalizing the naked male body and by encouraging viewers to consider and debate their own fears or aversions to being confronted by penises and male bodies on gallery walls.

Editor’s Note: Although this exhibit has now closed, there is a Website:  http://mac650gallery.wix.com/masculinity The site will take you to artist statements re: the project. The MAC650 Gallery’s Website is: http://www.mac650.com/

Katherine Allocco

Western Connecticut State University

Wadsworth Coney Island Exhibit a Must-See for Pop Culture Scholars

Coney Island: Visions of an American Dreamland, 1861–2008

Wadsworth Museum of Art, Hartford CT

January 31, 2015 – May 31, 2015

 

urlUnless you’re a roller coaster enthusiast, curious foreign traveler, or local resident Coney Island isn’t high on most people’s tourist agendas. Lots of people outside of greater New York aren’t even aware that a newly christened Luna Park opened in 2010 or that minor league baseball’s Brooklyn Cyclones play in the shadow of one of the park’s two roller coasters. For over 150 years, though, Coney Island was the place to be seen (or in some cases, a place not to be seen).

A delightful new exhibit at Hartford’s Wadsworth Atheneum uses paintings, graphic art, film clips, postcards and other objects to show us Coney Island in its many guises. Curator Robin Jaffe Frank’s exhibit is so thoughtfully arranged that wandering among its 140 pieces is akin to being in a living time capsule. For pop culture scholars, it’s a textbook case of how to connect art, society, and history.

Coney Island has indeed been a “Dreamland,” which was also the name of the area’s third major amusement park. Coney Island’s name derives from the rabbits that were the major residents in the days when Brooklyn was a separate city and still had working farms. The exhibit’s first section, “Down at Coney Island 1861–1894″ takes us back to the years when the first development took place there. It was, as we see in paintings from Samuel Carr and John Twachtman, not a place for respectable Victorians. It was remote–just as gamblers and the sporting crowd wished it to be–”Sodom by the Sea” as some critics dubbed it.

As we move to the next section, “World’s Greatest Playground 1895–1929,” we see Victorian outrage as the dying gasp of moralists whose cultural style was about to be eclipsed by Modernist sensation seekers. When George Tilyou opened Steeplechase Park in 1897, stern Victorianism was no match for mechanical horses, roller coasters, circuses, and fun houses. Reginald Marsh first painted Coney Island during this period, and only his death in 1954 deterred Coney’s most prolific canvas chronicler. We find all manner of wondrous objects in this section–Tilyou’s creepy funny face icon, gambling wheels, carousel horses, Walker Evans’ photographs…. But if one had to sum the cultural transformation in a single image, Joseph Stella’s “Battle of Lights” (1912–14) would serve well. (Pictured above)  It’s a literal swirl of sensations, the likes of which must have dizzied early Modernists on the Tilt-a-Whirl ride. Think of the awe that those who grew up with gaslight must have felt when Dreamland opened in 1903 and workers threw the switch on 250,000 electric lights. Actually, you don’t have to imagine; an Edwin S. Porter film shows us.

The Great Depression (and several fires) forced Coney Island to reinvent itself as “The Nickel Empire 1930–1939.” Marsh was at the height of his powers then, but his images–and those of others including Harry Roseland, Paul Cadmus, and Lisette Model–show us that Coney Island was inexorably losing middle-class patrons as it became a refuge for those seeking cheap amusements.

The last two sections, “Coney Island of the Mind 1940–1961” (a riff on Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s 1958 poetry collection) and “Requiem for a Dream 1962–2008” (after Darren Aronofsky’s film) show Coney Island in decline–from the working-class bastion photographed by Weegee, Diane Arbus, and Gary Winogrand to a seedy relic from another time. Astroland opened in 1962, but Steeplechase closed in 1964. By 1975, New Yorkers were warned to avoid the subway to Coney Island, by then a repository of crime, grime, freak shows, and drugs. Even before Astroland folded in 2008, Lisa Kereszi’s squalid photos captured Coney’s coming demise.

A revival might be in the air. The Cyclone–built in 1927–remains standing and within eyeshot of a spanking new Thunderbolt. Hurricane Sandy did the area no favors, but the baseball team is popular, the annual “Mermaid Parade” continues to draw massive crowds, 35,000 people show up for its July 4 hotdog-eating contest, and it’s still cooler on Coney Island’s crowded beaches than in a fifth-floor walkup. At present, though, Disney dominates the theme park social imaginary, Coney Island isn’t among the nation’s twenty top grossing  regional attractions, and its two amusement parks (Luna , Deno’s) combined offer a third fewer ride thrills than Pennsylvania’s Hershey Park. Small wonder that so many scholars and writers (John Kasson, Michael Immerso, Charles Denson,Kevin Baker, Sarah Hall, Stephen Millhauser, Alice Hoffman) dwell on its storied past. Before Disney there was Coney Island. It will surely remain vivid and vital in the memories of anyone venturing to Hartford to see the exhibit.

Robert E. Weir, Ph.D

University of Massachusetts Amherst

 

Exhibit on Brook Farm

An exhibit on Brook Farm is now on display in Boston. It is titled “Beyond Utopia:  5,000 Years at Brook Farm” and runs through June 15, 2013 at the City Archaeology Laboratory, 201 Rivermoor Street Boston, Massachusetts  02132. You can call 617-635-3097 for more details.