The Daily Tar Heel

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Saturday December 4th

UNC Studio Art Majors Association presents exhibit uniting sexuality and art

Viewers of the UNC Studio Art Majors Association’s latest show will have to go into the closet to experience art about coming out of the closet.

The exhibit, “Coming In — An Art Show On Queer Aesthetics,” opens today in SAMA’s gallery in Hanes Arts Center — a converted second-floor storage closet.

Senior studio art major Andy Champion was inspired by the Baptist Church’s view of sex to create a bold sculpture for the show.

“Sex is this amazing thing and it was created by God, but, ‘Don’t talk about it,’ and, ‘Don’t do it.’ But it’s amazing, but don’t do it,” Champion said.

His sculpture, titled “Devotion,” is an altar with 20 phallic wax candles covered in glitter.

The exhibit is curated by junior Diego Camposeco.

Camposeco said SAMA was created last semester to unite art students on campus.

“Because we’re inherently loners — you know like, the stereotypes are partly true — it’s hard for us to build these communities,” Camposeco said.

“We needed places where we could connect.”

The association’s three student shows thus far have been exhibited in the storage closet space on the second floor of Hanes Art Center — the Student Art Major, or “SAMple,” Gallery.

“It really is just a storage closet. We sell art supplies there during the school day,” Camposeco said.

The art supplies monitor, who maintains the closet, now has two jobs — to sell the supplies and to keep the doors open so people can see the exhibit.

“That’s part of the charm of it, I guess,” Champion said about the gallery space.

Jekka Garner, a studio art major, said the shows in the tiny gallery rotate every two weeks in order to keep the space exciting.

Camposeco said he wants his show to be just that.

“It’s not to put down other art exhibits around the University, but often times I feel that the art that is presented in other spaces isn’t transgressive enough, it doesn’t push enough boundaries; sometimes it’s too politically correct, or sometimes, it’s just watered down,” he said.

Camposeco said he wanted a show that would take more risks.

He does this by bringing the exhibit’s visitors into the closet — both the storage closet and the closet of homosexuality.

The title “Coming In — An Art Show On Queer Aesthetics,” is a play on the term “coming out.” It highlights art’s ability to bring a person “into the closet,” with homosexual people.

“I just thought it was funny, but it also started making me reflect on the idea of ‘coming out’ versus ‘coming in’ and what each of them could mean. For instance, does ‘coming in’ mean to empathize?” Camposeco said.

Camposeco said the main point of the show is to unite the ideas of sexuality and art in a way that adds meaning to the individual terms.

“By bringing these two nebulous terms together, we can approximate their individual meanings much better — however counterintuitive that may sound.”

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