Artist lectures on sexual masculinity



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Dean Adams, a ceramic artist, gives his lecture at the Henry Radford Hope School of Fine Arts on Tuesday. Adams teaches at Montana State University and exhibits nationally and internationally and his art and lecture give special attention to the male anatomy. Buy Photos

Artist and educator Dean Adams began his presentation by telling the audience his work isn’t what most people are used to seeing.

“A woman at one of my past presentations glanced at a photograph of one of my sculptures,” he said. “At first she thought it was a bird, but then she realized, ‘My God, that’s a penis!’”

The presentation, titled “The Art of Being Male,” took place Tuesday at the IU Fine Arts Building. The Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender and Reproduction sponsored the event.

Adams, the foundations coordinator at Montana State University, combines his skill of ceramic art with humor in illustrating sexual ?masculinity. His works mainly include penis-shaped sculptures combined with aspects of nature, such as birds.

Although he mainly works with ceramic art in depicting sexual masculinity, Adams said he doesn’t limit himself to a single medium with his profession.

“I want to make positive sexual icons, meaning that I want to shed a positive light on the masculine side of sexuality,” he said. “Male sexuality in today’s culture is defined through hypermasculinity, which doesn’t encapsulate the full being of an individual.”

Adams said he uses a sense of humor to get people to think about how sexuality functions in their daily lives.

Adams said he wants to help people become comfortable with their sexuality.

“I want people to either consider or reconsider the role of sexuality in their lives,” he said. “Letting people engage in issues of sexuality and combining it with humor allows people to lay their guards down.”

Combining his humor with talks about sexuality allows people to let down their guards, he said.

Nathan Davis, a former employee of Montana State University and friend of Adams’, was in attendance at the presentation and said Adams is “like a ninja” with his craft.

“It’s amazing to see him keep doing what he’s doing,” he said. “Even though he’s so good at the ceramics aspect, that’s not what he likes to talk about the most.

Adams said his interest in sexuality was triggered at a young age from his mother’s work; she started the first Rape Task Force in his hometown of Billings, Mont.

Hearing stories from his mom about women being assaulted and raped by men made Adams afraid of his own sexuality.

He overcame his fear by confronting it with art and humor, he said.

Adams said he wants his work to give people a new outlook and awareness of sexuality in an affirmative way.

“Being able to openly talk about sexuality is healthy,” he said. “Using humor just makes it easier.”

Adams ended his presentation by saying he wasn’t the first person to combine humor, art and sexuality all into one process.

“I am not the first person to put wings on a penis nor to put penises on a bird,” he said.

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