Schoeller - Female Bodybuilders gallery opening review
"Female Bodybuilders" opening
by Gene X Hwang
Hills, CA - Photographer Martin Schoeller, who may be
best known for his Close
debuted his newest project at the Ace
Gallery in Beverly Hills on a Wednesday night to a packed
house of art fans, critics, celebrities, athletes and even the Mayor of
Los Angeles. The project was several years in the making and
those in the bodybuilding industry may have noticed Schoeller and his
crew at many of the women's pro shows. The final athlete to
be photographed was on Sunday morning after the 2008 Arnold Classis,
and that was IFBB Pro Kristy Hawkins. While Hawkins' print
was not in the exhibition, which is up until April 2008, she will be
included in the book when it is published, which will feature over 60
The prints, which are C-Prints
sized 89" (H) x 72" (W) are impressive in their scale, but it's the
combination of the subject matter, lighting treatment and the skill of
the artist to pull out from the athletes more than is usually exposed.
All the athletes are in repose trying for a neutral look.
Schoeller purposefully requests this so that other elements
of their personalities can come out. The pensive looks belie
the strong exteriors, but a vulnerability is shown as well.
Some portraits seem regal and powerful such as that of Annie
Rivieccio, while some seem more sad.
images really evoke responses from the viewer. They push the
viewer not only to examine the person that is presented before them,
but to examine themselves at the same time. They may relate
and see something of themselves in the photos, which is something most
people probably don't think about - what they have in common -
especially when you are discussing female bodybuilders.
the opening, there were also five of the pros on hand to do
performances. They included the current Ms. Olympia Iris
Kyle, the current Ms. International Yaxeni Oriquen, Annie Rivieccio,
Betty Viana, and Rosemary Jennings. During their
performances, the women wowed the crowd with their intense muscularity
and all were in top shape. Audience members were heard
gasping at the visible motions of the muscle groups as the women flexed
and posed. With such a mixed crowd, it was interesting to see
what the response was to them.
echoed a familiar refrain to those involved in the industry saying that
they thought originally that muscles on women were kind of gross, but
after seeing it in person, one phrase that came up repeatedly was
'inspired' - quite an opposite reaction. Laura Jackman from
LA and Shane Lynch were both impressed and left the exhibit with a
newer appreciation of the hard work and dedication that's required to
develop a physique to that level.
In all, the even
would have to have been qualified as a success from both an artistic
perspective as well as for the sport and image of women's bodybuilding.
At the after party/dinner next door many of the patrons were
also intrigued by the women and were asking questions on training, etc.
It's clear that the general public has quite an interest in
female bodybuilders and hopefully this exhibition and forthcoming book
will prove to be a spark for the sport and for the athletes.
Last updated: March 7, 2008