Withering into the Past: Deconstructing a Myth of the Male Artist

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Abstract

The hegemony of greatness inherent in the myth of a male artist seems to rely on a handful of names and corresponds to the lives of very few men. By situating masculinities in the realms of creative practice, and reflecting on a notion of a success, we acknowledge dominant ideologies and values that stem from them, emerging out of political, social, and cultural arenas, ‘dictating’ exemplars of masculinity, and reproducing power relations via projected orders, constructing what may appear as a successful manhood. This paper discusses representations of creative masculinity through the examples of video installations:” Jawa” (2007) by Hanna Nowicka and “Incidence of Catastrophe” by Gary Hill (1987–88). The insights/accounts of identity constructions of two successful creative men, an artist and an anthropologist, seem to reveal more contradictory forms of masculinity tied to a myth about the success associated with a sense of being a male creator, deconstructing a notion of the 20th century male genius, projected in the Western canons of art history, including the grand maestros of that time such as Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse, as well as more contemporary artists such as Andy Warhol or Lucian Freud.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15-24
JournalThe International Journal of New Media, Technology, and the Arts
Volume7
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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Masculinity
Artist
Art History
Creator
Manhood
Video Installation
Canon
Contradictory
Gary Hill
Names
Greatness
Power Relations
Lucian Freud
Identity Construction
Catastrophe
Henri Matisse
Genius
Anthropologists
Pablo Picasso
Andy Warhol

Cite this

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abstract = "The hegemony of greatness inherent in the myth of a male artist seems to rely on a handful of names and corresponds to the lives of very few men. By situating masculinities in the realms of creative practice, and reflecting on a notion of a success, we acknowledge dominant ideologies and values that stem from them, emerging out of political, social, and cultural arenas, ‘dictating’ exemplars of masculinity, and reproducing power relations via projected orders, constructing what may appear as a successful manhood. This paper discusses representations of creative masculinity through the examples of video installations:” Jawa” (2007) by Hanna Nowicka and “Incidence of Catastrophe” by Gary Hill (1987–88). The insights/accounts of identity constructions of two successful creative men, an artist and an anthropologist, seem to reveal more contradictory forms of masculinity tied to a myth about the success associated with a sense of being a male creator, deconstructing a notion of the 20th century male genius, projected in the Western canons of art history, including the grand maestros of that time such as Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse, as well as more contemporary artists such as Andy Warhol or Lucian Freud.",
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