‘MANkind’ Exhibit at Hudson Pride Connections Center Explores Definitions of Masculinity

Think you’re a real man? A new exhibit at the Hudson Pride Connections Center may make you reevaluate your definition of masculinity.

Curator and contributing artist Ricardo Osmondo Francis says the idea of masculinity, the theme of “MAN/kind,” has interested him for quite some time.

“I thought it was interesting to find other artists that deal with that subject in their work and I…put a core of people together with very interesting ideas about this subject,” he says.

“For me, the aspect of masculinity is very much an issue of culture and at many times, race. Within each culture and rae, masculinity is determined by a lot of cultural conventions that are passed on through tradition and a lot of times that excludes individuality. For me as an artist, I think only in individuality — my version of masculinity is what I feel for myself and for someone else that could be different,” explains Francis. “For me it is an aspect of personal responsibility and being at peace with who you are.”

Francis says that many males tend to question their own masculinity and that the topic is especially of interest to those in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community. “A couple of the artists delve into the aspect of dual icons, dual identity, male and female, the aspect of LGBTQ identity…I felt it was important to do that because this is something that is so specific, sometimes it’s best to look at all angles of that idea and other things that are out there,” he says.

Both men and women will learn more about different views of masculinity at the exhibit, Francis adds.

“I think that when they see the show, they will get a whole variety of perspectives…and walk away with a conversation with themselves over the subject matter,” he says. “They’ll walk away with some level of intrigue and really relook at the idea of masculinity and what it means.”

Artists in this exhibit include Francis himself, Jermaine D. Clark (photography), David Antonio Cruz (video), Edwin Gonzalez-Ojeda (painting), Shaun El C. Leonardo (drawing and installation), Ricardo Louis (photography), Ivan Monforte (photography), Levan Mindiashivilli (painting) Cristian Tonhaiser (photography), and Mark Vinsun (painting).

“MAN/kind” opens Wednesday, July 18, with a reception at 6 pm and runs through August 31. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Friday from 11 am to 6 pm. hours are Tuesday – Friday from 11 AM – 6 PM. For more information, visit Hudson Pride’s website or contact Ricardo Francis at 917-279-5576 or rfrancis9876[at]gmail.com.

Summer Dawn Hortillosa

is a freelance arts and entertainment writer whose work has appeared in the Jersey City Independent, The Jersey Journal, the International and other publications. She is also a creative writer and theatrical director.