In Yarders: The Underground World of Backyard Wrestling, 2018 Kenan Graduate Arts Fellow Rachel Jessen (MFAEDA 2018) investigates the underground world of backyard wrestling through a visual means. Spending the past year photographing federations in South Carolina and Georgia, she has come to see backyard wrestling—often referred to as “yarding”—as more than a fringe hobby wherein participants pretend to fight. Yarders explores themes of performativity, masculinity, ritualization, and class, subverting widely held assumptions and stereotypes of the activity and those who engage in it.
Yarders is on exhibit in the Keohane-Kenan Gallery, located on the first floor of the West Duke Building on Duke’s East Campus, from February 1-April 19, 2018.
On February 23, Jessen will host Cheap-Shots and Kayfabe: A Conversation on Ethics and Performative Violence with MIT Professor of Theater Arts Claire Conceison and KIE’s Mike and Ruth Mackowski Professor of Ethics Wayne Norman, at 5:30pm in the Ahmadieh Family Conference Room, West Duke Building Room 101), followed by the exhibit reception at 6:30pm. Both events are open to the public and free of charge.