This exhibition features a gymnasium installation activated with live performers.
MAGIC MIKE articulates the artist Michael Zavros’ interest in exploring the idea of the body beautiful in art and concepts of male beauty. In part Zavros' art practice underscores contemporary society’s obsession with beauty and vanity, which he exposes as age old preoccupations, as much as it offers an autobiographical account.
The exhibition title playfully references virtuoso painting and 'magic' realism but also is a parody of the film of the same name, the 2012 American comedic drama directed by Steven Soderbergh about a troupe of male strippers. The lead role played by Channing Tatum is to Zavros the pop culture contemporary equivalent of an ancient Adonis; the male form perfected.
Newcastle Art Gallery has collaborated with Zavros as exhibition artist and co-curator to re-contextualize his earlier art practice alongside more recent and new works developed specifically for Magic Mike. Works of art recently acquired by Newcastle Art Gallery include The Sunbather 2015 and The Mermaid 2015 shown in this exhibition for the first time.
The Sunbather 2015 pays homage to the work of David Hockney and expands on Zavros’s ongoing exploration of the myth of narcissus depicting the artist beside his swimming pool. The Mermaid 2015 also uses the artist’s home pool as its setting capturing his daughter Phoebe floating with her hair spooling out on the surface of the water. These images of self and the self as mediated through his daughter offer a glimpse of the artist through an inward looking lens. They are important pieces in the artist’s oeuvre and representative of two dominating threads in his practice.
Exhibition media release - Zavros brings muscle to Newcastle Art Gallery with exhibition MAGIC MIKE
Exhibition review - Sydney Morning Herald Spectrum: John McDonald Master of Artifice, published 6 May 2017
MAGIC MIKE: Michael Zavros exhibition catalogue (pdf)
Michael Zavros, The Sunbather 2015 Collection learning resource (pdf)