“Labor Day marks the opening of the museum’s most ambitious exhibition to date: “Flex It! My Body. My Temple.” The show begins with a community potluck picnic on the Parthenon’s steps. “FLEX IT!” is Outlaw’s brainchild and was co-curated by Susan Shockley, head curator at the Parthenon. It’s a multipart “living” exhibition, or one that will continue to evolve over its run … The idea is to create conversations between artists and the public on choosing healthful lifestyles.” – Michelle Jones for The Tennessean

“… The latest exhibit Outlaw has curated is her most expansive yet: FLEX IT! My Body My Temple is the largest exhibit of socially engaged artwork presented in the South, and it brings her work into conversation with nine other artists, both national and international … to reinvent the Parthenon as a central gathering place for people to consider and engage in healthy lifestyles.” –  Laura Hutson for The Scene

Acting within an evolving framework of collaborative artistic works, the FLEX IT! exhibit developed over time as projects unfolded and people participated. Beginning May, 2014, FLEX IT! artists began travelling to Nashville from as far away as Hong Kong to make art with and for the Nashville community. Their ongoing works were experienced both inside the museum and on park grounds through January, 2015. A portion of the show traveled to San Diego as part of an expanded FLEX IT! show at the Jacobs Center. The exhibit culminated with a catalog, excerpts below.

So much of art in the past was about showing. Go to a museum and look at what an artist thought. Go to a retrospective and try your best to get into the head of an artist. Not that I don’t like that kind of thing, but certainly there is room at this point for other approaches. I think the participatory switch has really clicked. … With the works in this show, the artists are basically saying, “Hey audience, stop being an audience. Let’s get into this.”  –  Nato Thompson

“Seize the means of production,” said Karl Marx. … the site of the Parthenon as location is nothing short of brilliant … But it is also the visitors who come to the Parthenon (or its park site) that make this such an appropriate location and allows this exhibition to show just what social practice aims to be: not a museum experience, not a conventional art viewing relationship, but a means by which we make meaning for ourselves and, in so doing, reshapes ourselves.  –  Mary Jane Jacobs

The works the artists created for FLEX IT! following their Nashville residencies reflect the dynamics of the local community. They are ultimately about listening, giving, and sharing — not showing or taking. Generosity is key here. It is a team effort.  –  Amy Mackie

As an artistic practice FLEX IT! breaks down barriers and strengthens bodies and communities. As a world building practice, FLEX IT! helps build the translocal networks that will continue to push artistic dialogue into the future and around the world. As a place-making practice, FLEX IT! strengthens Nashville itself—its citizens, its artists, and the reputation of the city as a whole.  –  Samuel Shaw

The works of art exhibited in FLEX IT beautifully showcase the possibilities of healthy living through awareness and community action.  –  Blake Schreiner

An engaging and innovative exhibit, FLEX IT! My Body, My Temple has successfully introduced Nashville to the concept of social practice art. For visitors to the Parthenon and Centennial Park who are accustomed to traditional art exhibits and installations, this exhibition expanded their notions of art itself and lured them into the participatory nature of cutting edge art practices.  –  Dee Gee Lester

An exhibition that involves the indoors and outdoors simultaneously, that requires active engagement from the museum visitors — including badminton in the gallery! — and whose presence has evolved during the run, has opened our minds to new possibilities and unleashed new creative energy. – Wesley Paine