from/on Zoë Zimmerman’s ‘Of Men: Strength and Vulnerability, First Aid’ series

“Between a documentary gaze and one that is elegiac and mournful, Zimmerman’s portraits inquire into the spaces where men may touch. They acknowledge and resist the way in which masculinity is constructed on the intractable myths of distance, autonomy, hardness, and omnipresent sexual readiness, requiring that all intimacy be formalized, all touch be justified. Between the maternal embrace and the sexualized touch of a lover, whether male or female, men are neglected in their bodies, belittled for human needs. The wrenching discomfort in the series of portraits describes the “touch isolation” organizing the American experience of maleness. This, then, is Zimmerman’s project: a study of the contortions wrought by homophobia and a lament about the dearth of touch in the lives of boys and men.”

Dawn Marlan

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Zoë Zimmerman

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