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Curated by Dakota Noot, an artist himself with a flair for the visually dramatic and occasionally performative, curates the group show Useless Man in the gallery at Highways Performance Space, which opens this weekend. About a dozen artists working across eclectic styles and diverse mediums take on the topic and subject of maleness and masculinity in reimagined bodies and scenarios that deflate the dogma of patriarchy.

Christopher Velasco

To the degree that male bodies are portrayed in mainstream visual culture, it is typically along a conventional power and strength continuum, one that distorts the nuances of actual life and often strays into a toxic view of masculinity that’s bad for society and bad for art. For the purposes of this exhibition, artists were asked to consider both men and maleness as the raw materials for any kind of reimagining, transformation, or erasure which they saw fit to pursue, with results ranging from the unsettling to the hilarious — and frequently both.

Artists: Rakeem Cunningham, Gabriel Garcia, Maiza Hixson, Shaun Johnson, Emily Blythe Jones, Thinh Nguyen, Paul Pescador, Jason Ramos, Charles Snowden, Christopher Velasco, and Eve Wood.

Highways, 1651 18th St., Santa Monica; highwaysperformance.org; Exhibition: August 24 – September 22; Opening Reception: Saturday, August 24, 6-8pm; free.

Rakeem Cunningham

Emily Blythe Jones