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Mix Masters

Two men collide in the center of a ring and begin to wrestle each other to the ground. The men are nearly equal in strength and neither seems to be winning the match. This is art, an exhibit featured by USF’s Contemporary Art Museum, representing Lucha Libre, professional Mexican wrestling.

Margaret Miller, director of the Institute for Research in Art, said artist Carlos Amorales created the wrestling piece by employing two professional wrestlers to fight under his identity. The wrestlers wear masks resembling Amorales’ face. As they fight, they represent Amorales fighting himself, good vs. evil.

According to Miller, the wrestlers fought in four places, and Amorales recorded their performances for the project. The recordings are displayed simultaneously on four walls of a square, white room. The viewer enters the room and is surrounded by images and sounds of wrestling rings, wrestlers and wrestling audiences.

“Carlos’ piece is psychologically based,” said Miller. “He entered the world of wrestling and wrestled against himself through the wrestlers he hired.”

Amorales’ art is part of the museum’s show, “Outside of the Box,” which features artists using new media such as video, DVD and laser discs. The exhibit includes a Bjork music video by director Chris Cunningham displayed on a plasma screen. The images in the short music video are of female robots with human faces interacting with each other.

In addition, “Outside of the Box” features a computer-generated video of a 3-year-old boy smoking by artist Maria Marshall and a voyeuristic experience of viewing video through a peephole by artist Mariko Mori.

“We have an international reputation for doing ambitious projects such as this one,” said Miller. “It’s a very edgy show.”

Despite the diversity of the artists and the art, Miller said there are interesting connections that happen while viewing the exhibit.

“The show puts the works in context,” she said. “The pieces resonate with each other and it’s the comparison of the works that really makes the show.”

Miller likens the show to a movie theater experience. “Looking at this type of art is different from just looking at a monitor,” she said. “It engages and engulfs you like a surround-sound theater.”

After two years of planning, Miller and independent curator, Jade Dellinger, opened “Outside of the Box” Jan. 11 with a catered reception.

“The audience was impressive,” Miller said. “We had hundreds of people for the show’s opening.”

Miller said students were especially enthusiastic at the reception.

“I expected a good response because of the nature of the show,” she said. “This is time-based art students understand.”Second-year USF theater student Paul Thomas Chapman said he was impressed by the entire exhibit, but especially enjoyed the Amorales piece.

“It was dizzying and intoxicating, but in a good way,” he said. “It’s excellent that he uses popular entertainment to make his art.”Chapman said “Outside of the Box” is “absolutely amazing and worth seeing for anyone interested in art.”

“Outside of the Box” will continue through March 9. The museum, located on campus, is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. and on Saturday from 1 p.m. – 4 p.m. Admission is free. Contact the museum at 974-4133

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