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

By Katarzyna Kosmala.

Published by The International Journal of New Media, Technology and the Arts

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

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.

Keywords: Masculinities, Visual Culture, Deconstruction, Myth, Artist, Success

The International Journal of New Media, Technology and the Arts, Volume 7, Issue 4, pp.15-24. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 475.272KB).

Prof. Katarzyna Kosmala

Professor in Culture, Media and Visual Practice, Faculty of Business and Creative Industries, University of the West of Scotland, Paisley, UK

Katarzyna Kosmala is a professor of culture, media, and visual practice in the School of Creative and Cultural Industries at the University of West of Scotland. She is a visiting research fellow at the European Institute of Gender Studies GEXcel at Linköping University and Örebro University, Sweden, and a visiting professor at Fundacao Getulio Vargas in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. She is an art writer and freelance curator. She has published widely in international journals, contributed to several books, art reviews and art catalogues. She currently edits Sexing the Border (Cambridge Scholars). She lives in Edinburgh, Scotland.