Anatomy of Gender

Male and female anatomical differences seem to be self-evident, neutral truths of biology. And yet, throughout Western history, male and female bodies have been continuously subjected to diverse social, religious, and cultural characterizations that are anything but neutral. The exhibit Anatomy of Gender, curated by Lyle Massey, assistant professor of art history, Northwestern University, and organized by the Block Museum, explores the complex attitudes toward visualizing sexual differences. While the physical exhibit brings together diverse media such as prints, printed books, and sculpture, the placement of such items in a secure display setting limits the amount of contact a visitor may have with each object. Professor Massey, therefore, employed Northwestern University Digital Media Services and NUAMPS to create a digital component for the exhibit. The Anatomy of Gender website offers navigable images from seven books of prints, information on the books, their authors and the images, and essays that explore the significance of the images in shaping or sustaining cultural characterization of male and female biology.