Bettina Rheims photography exhibit exploring gender and sexuality opens at McCalla School

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The Kinsey Institute is holding the “Bettina Rheims: Everything All at Once” exhibit at the McCalla School from noon to 7 p.m. on Thursdays and at select times until Nov. 9.  This display is a collection of Bettina Rheims’ art as a French artist and commercial photographer. She is recognized for her work depicting the exploration of nudity, sexuality, gender and power. 

The exhibit consists of 12 images exploring the concept of gender identity. The images deconstruct traditional society-driven gender stereotypes and instead allow the viewer to see the subject as they have chosen to present themselves.  

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“This decision they have made, to present themselves as they chose, lends power to their presentation, and viewers can’t help but admire and wonder more about their lives,” Alisha Beard, the engagement coordinator for University Collections at IU, said in an email. 

All images in the exhibit come from Rheims’ “Modern Lovers” and “Espionnes” series shot in Europe from 1989 to 1991 during the height of the AIDS crisis, and they focus on the idea of exploring gender.  

“One of the most gratifying parts of hosting the Rheims exhibit is learning how people respond to the images,” Brian Woodman, the associate director of University Collections at IU, said in an email. “Some people focus on the beauty of the photographs, but others respond very personally, seeing themselves reflected in those images.” 

The exhibit not only features a line of images but also an interactive aspect, said Rebecca Fasman, the curator at the Kinsey Institute. Fasman said the photo gallery also includes a separate reading nook with a wall of questions where viewers can read stories of gender exploration, as well as share their own, and a free library with zines and other books from the Kinsey Institute that focus on gender identity. 

“And so, we are always looking to capture more stories and learn more about humanity through our research and collections,” Fasman said. 

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The Rheims photo gallery is one of many the Kinsey Institute has curated. The institute hosts several collections that explore the concept of gender and sexuality in order to promote new thoughts and discussions regarding these ideas. 

Any questions regarding the gallery can be directed to [email protected]


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