A new multi-media art exhibit—on at Kensington Market’s White House gallery this weekend—draws inspiration from that most flamboyant of ‘80s wrestlers, “Macho Man” Randy Savage.
For those who think that the relationship between art and wrestling peaked with Hulk Hogan’s 1993 masterpiece Mister Nanny, this weekend’s exhibit at Kensington Market’s White House gallery is sure to change your mind (and hopefully instill a better taste in movies). Running from Nov. 12–15 at the small second floor gallery, Savage: Cult of Personality, Pure Media and the Art of Macho Madness showcases works of art devoted to the late, great WWF champion “Macho Man” Randy Savage.
Curated by Toronto-based writer Nathaniel G. Moore, the mixed-media exhibit features readings from local artists and writers, video installations and paintings that were sent from as far afield as London, England and, er, Nebraska. Performance artists Cara Spooner and Alicia Grant (calling themselves The Mega Powers) will also be donning hand-sewn costumes and wrestling around a small ring in an attempt to add flare and showmanship to the exhibit.
“Savage had a very distinct look, voice and mannerism,” says Moore. “He was a very well established and well defined character and I think that’s why visual artists are able to mimic his experience, his physical or aesthetic trajectory.”
An avid wrestling fan whose forthcoming novel partially examines his adolescent obsession with the Macho Man, Moore had long hoped to curate a wrestling-themed art exhibit, but wasn’t sure any gallery would take the prospect seriously. However, the White House’s Vanessa Rieger confirmed that Moore’s proposal for the Savage show passed unanimously with the board of directors, perhaps proof that the exhibit’s theme is able to cross cultural barriers. As Moore puts it, “in some ways the show has nothing to do with Savage. It’s really about the artists and about the confines of what they can do with this theme.”
An enigmatic figure whose wrestling career spanned 30 years, Savage started as a minor-league baseball player and dabbled in acting and music as his time in the ring waned. As Moore set up the exhibit last night, he was struck by a photo of Savage hanging on the wall. Thought to be the last photo taken of the wrestler, Savage is shown looking at his cellphone while in the stands at a baseball game. “In a way it’s a very sad portrait of him,” said Moore. “But I like to think that he’s texting Hulk Hogan, right after they made up.”
Savage: Cult of Personality, Pure Media and the Art of Macho Madness runs from Nov. 12-15 at the White House Gallery (277.5 Augusta Ave.). PWYC. Click open the gallery below for a preview of the exhibit.