Art at MIR

At MIR22, The Art Of Rubber, the Mr. International Rubber Organization was able to begin a program of art exhibitions as part of the weekend.  The goal of this initiative is to bring new artists and perspectives to the attention of our attendees each year. We strive to avoid traditional "beefcake" imagery, and to explore other expression of rubber and kink in an artistic context.  These exhibitions are brief and temporary at this time, exhibited at Center on Halsted just for the three days of Mr. International Rubber. Below you will learn more about our exhibitions, past and present.


CURRENT EXHIBITION - MIR25 RUBBER VISION

Ed Negron, Photographer

Ed Negron was perhaps best known to attendees of Mr. International Rubber (MIR) as the friendly guy taking portraits in the photo booth, getting candid shots in the market, or photographing the contest.  As MIR staff photographer for the last decade, he had access to every aspect of the event, and worked diligently to capture aspects of the weekend that might not be as visible to the average attendee. He used his camera to highlight under-represented communities, to capture intimate moments, and to record on film the personal sense of pride and power that many experience at events such as MIR.

The photos presented here are drawn from the archives of MIR Contest, Inc. and represent one specific slice of his photographic work. Negron was a prolific freelance photographer in Chicago.  He was a staff photographer for the Windy City Times, and the preferred event photographer of many non-profits for their annual fundraising galas. Through his work, he documented and uplifted the lives of LGBTQ Chicagoans and visitors to international events held in the city.

Following this exhibition, these prints will be donated to The Leather Archives and Museum as part of the Mr. International Rubber Collection.


BIOGRAPHY

Edward Negron (November 29, 1970 – July 23, 2021) was an activist and substance-abuse counselor, and served for many years as a dedicated volunteer, mentor, leader, and advocate in the LGBT, Latino, and recovery communities, especially making sure the B was not left out. Negron served many organizations as a volunteer or leader, including as a co-founder of Bisexual Queer Alliance, the Association of Latino Men for Action (ALMA), Orgullo en Acción, Equality Illinois, the Windy City Boys Troop, International Mr. Leather, the Chicago Task Force on LGBT Substance Use and Abuse, the Chicago Crystal Meth Task Force, and Compassion Action. He also worked on LGBT outreach to youth with the AIDS Foundation of Chicago, as well as street and event outreach for other HIV/AIDS service providers. He chaired Chicago’s first Latinx LGBT Pride picnic in 2006.
Negron was a consensus builder who did jobs big and small to promote social welfare, justice, and the health of LGBT communities. He fearlessly and publicly spoke about his life as a former addict, gang member, and drug dealer, to work against the effects of drugs, addiction, homophobia, and oppression. 
Negron regularly participated in advocacy and lobbying with other community leaders, meeting with government officials from Chicago’s City Hall, the Illinois State Capitol in Springfield, and the White House in Washington, DC. Far less visible, but vitally important, is the work he did as a mentor to youth, as well as in private face-to-face interventions to help break cycles of oppression, alienation, and abuse.
Besides his own community involvement, Negron was part of a large and proud family active in Chicago’s Puerto Rican community and an Army veteran.


PAST EXHIBITIONS
MIR23 - UNDERGROUND

Aaron Moth is the artistic alter ego of a Polish artist, fascinated by photography of architecture, nudity, eroticism & queer art from the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s.  Aaron Moth uses mostly erotic and pornographic pictures, through the technique of collage, he creates a new,
 more sensual quality.  His works can be found in private collections, among others, in Great Britain, Spain, Germany, Poland, Brazil
 and the United States of America. Aaron Moth breathes, lives and works in Berlin.
Andi Fogt is a Chicago based artist invested in creating work exploring gender and sexuality. They graduated from Herron School of Art and Design with a BFA in Printmaking. Their aesthetic draws heavily from a background in intaglio and screenprinting, focused primarily on imagery which revels in line works and flat colors. They’re a body-positive, fat-positive, leather, genderqueer relationship anarchist who believes that art can (and should) be accessible.
Shilo McCabe has been photographing the leather, kink and sex-positive communities of the San Francisco Bay Area for over 15 years. She has exhibited her work nationally and internationally and is honored to have her images in several print publications. Her work has been included in the Kinsey Institute Gallery's permanent collection and her self-published exhibition catalog from the “I masturbate…” show is now housed in a library at Harvard University. She is honored to work as the current Director of Photography for International Ms Leather Productions, LLC. Additionally, she has served on the board of LVA: Lesbians in the Visual Arts and was a Project Photographer for the Bay Area Women of Color Photo Project.




MIR22  - THE ART OF RUBBER


Fabrizio Cotognini was born in Macerata, Italy in 1983, and now lives and works in Civitanova Marche in the region of his birth. In 2009 he was one of the artists in the Leather Archives and Museum exhibition entitled “Low” curated by Scott Ian Ray. Works loaned from the collection of the Leather Archives and Museum.
Efrain J. Gonzales is a photographer working in New York City. The two works featured here are from two larger collection of photographs taken at “Kink and Draw”, a regular event hosted by The Baroness. Artists of all stripes gather at Lucky Bar to sketch and create art based on an array of latex and fetish clad models. Works loaned from the collection of the Leather Archives and Museum.

Katie Vota is a Chicago-based artist working to create interactive environments and sculptural objects that engage viewers in ideas of play, touch, pleasure, power exchange, and the roll of the active body in shaping identity.