Saturday night was an evening of fire, dance and seduction at the Maven Arthouse’s Maven Rouge exhibition, where patrons paid $50 to enjoy student art on themes of gender, capitalism, climate and success, as well as magic, dance performances and catering.
The leaders of the student-run art collective begin organizing each event by choosing a theme. This weekend, for their fifth event, they designed the exhibition to emulate the movie and Broadway show Moulin Rouge!
The night’s entertainment focused on elements of traditional burlesque, with performances from Cornell Pole Posse, student magician David Frank and fire dancer Acadia Rae.
The event was the first of any kind to take place at Osmica, a new local venue at Spring Trail Farm.
“We wanted to bring guests to a never-before-seen venue that we thought matched our theme,” said Chief Creative Officer Sylvie Lane ’23, “The space also worked beautifully in terms of how we intended to set up and unveil our gallery.”
The red Osmica barn was decorated with fairy lights, and its barn doors slid open to reveal a large dance floor, full-service bar and pizza table. Above the dance floor, Cornell students Jack Megrue ’23 — whose DJ name is Grü — and Strauss Cooper ’22 worked as DJs.
Upstairs, 15 artists displayed 30 pieces of artwork, ranging from traditional canvas paintings to intricately detailed skateboards.
One such artist, Subharghya Das ’24, said his exhibit at Maven Rouge was part of his broader artistic effort to explore cultural understandings of androgyny. On display Saturday was his lithography, “Undressing the Androgynous Body.”
Saubharghya said that his lithograph drew on his Indian upbringing, using Hindi writing to convey parts of his message.
“The letters you see are Hindi. The Hindi language is very gendered, but in this case, it’s a Hindi poem about an ungendered lover. That’s rare,” Saubharghya said.
Across the room, Liana Amaya ’22 showcased two paintings, one on capitalism titled “L.A. Electric” and the other on climate change titled “Cannibals.”
Amaya said that the woman depicted in “L.A. Electric” is asking her audience to question their relationships with advertising and superficiality.
“Her gaze specifically is meant to draw you in,” Amaya said. “She’s so tailored to a robotic perfection, and I wanted that unrealness to reflect what we’re surrounded by today.”
A third artist, Iris Kazhmurat ’22, exhibited a painting about pathways to success, questioning the idea of a “right path.” Her painting features lines on their way to the top of the canvas, intersected and disturbed by blue matter that represents experiences that may interrupt a seemingly perfect journey.
“Someone can go straight up… [but] it’s all about your own way that you’re getting to a point of succeeding in life,” Kazhmurat said.
Correction, March 28, 10:12 a.m.: The initial version of this article misspelled the name of one of the artists as Isis Kazhmurat, not Iris Kazhmurat. This information has been corrected.