No holds barred? When it comes to Thomas McGovern’s latest project, the renowned photographer jumped lens-first into the lives of San Bernardino’s working stiffs who really wanted to get physical in their off-time: the world of professional wrestling—costumes, masks, alter egos and all. Sure, the images the photographer captured for Hard Boys + Bad Girls makes it clear that the not-so-gentle art of limb pretzeling is equal parts showmanship and hard-grit determination—but it becomes clearer when you check out the book’s interviews on larger-than-life characters like Hurricane Havana that behind the vinyl masks and beneath the Spandex lies ambition, struggle and a determination to reach the crowning heights of wrestling’s Mount Olympus. McGovern’s work sports some serious cred as his images have graced collections at the Brooklyn Museum of Art, the Baltimore Museum of Art and other top-shelf repositories of culture. And he’s a local cat, currently serving a stint as a professor of art at Cal State San Bernardino. You can see many of the costumed wrestlers in the flesh during this Saturday’s reception and book signing—Hulkamania’s got nuthin‘ on this!
Thomas McGovern’s “Hard Boys + Bad Girls” solo exhibition and book launch at Andi Campognone Projects, 558B W. 2nd St., Pomona, (909) 629-4500; www.andicampognone.com, www.thomasmcgovern.net. Thru May 29. Reception and book signing Sat, May 8, 6-9PM.