UPDATE: [20th] Contemporary Art and Classical Myth

full name / name of organization: 
Isabelle Wallace
contact email: 

Title: Contemporary Art / Classical Myth

Call for Abstracts: 9/30/2007

Due Date for Completed Papers: 9/30/2008

Ancient myth has always provided fertile ground for Western artists and
theorists of the visual. Yet art historians tend to associate classical
mythology with historical styles and only rarely with the art of the
present. Indeed, current writing on contemporary art is, with few
exceptions, curiously devoid of mythological content, despite demonstrable
interest in myth on the part of several contemporary artists, ranging from
earlier figures such as Louise Bourgeois and Cy Twombly to more recent
arrivals such as Gregory Crewdson, Fred Wilson, Bill Viola, Ann Hamilton,
and John Currin. While some artists’ work invokes the power of classical
mythology explicitly, as in an expressly narcissistic video by Patty Chang
(Fountain, 1999) or an Orpheus-inspired installation by Felix
Gonzales-Torres (Untitled (Orpheus, Twice), 1991), others gesture toward
myth in more subtle ways, as do for example, Gerhard Richter’s mirrored
installations and paintings. Also of note is the preoccupation with myth
on the part of several twentieth-century theorists and philosophers, all of
whom have made a significant mark on the discipline of art history:
Theodore Adorno, Maurice Blanchot, Hélène Cixous, Sigmund Freud, Herbert
Marcuse, Jacques Lacan, Paul de Man, Louis Marin, Gayatri Spivak, et al.

In light of these and other connections, this anthology aims to explore
(and to some extent establish) the multifaceted intersection of
contemporary art and classical myth. Essays addressing this topic may
concentrate on a single work or series as it relates to a specific myth or
on a single artist whose work seems driven by an overarching agenda, for
which a certain myth makes a particularly apt metaphor. Essays that employ
myth for the purpose of grappling with dominant trends in contemporary art
are also welcome, as are mythologically inflected meditations on the
concept of the visual art object as theorized, deployed, and constructed
within contemporary art and culture. Essays may focus on traditional as
well as new media, and contributions may adopt strategies not limited to
the approaches outlined above.

Interested parties should send a 500-word abstract together with a
curriculum vitae and brief bio to Isabelle Wallace and/or Jennie Hirsh by
September 30, 2007. Completed essays of 5,000 words will be due September
30, 2008. Initial inquiries are welcome.

Isabelle Loring Wallace
Assistant Professor, Contemporary Art and Theory
Department of Art History
Lamar Dodd School of Art
University of Georgia, Athens
Email: iwallace_at_uga.edu

Jennie Hirsh
Assistant Professor, Modern and Contemporary Art and Architecture
Department of Art History
Maryland Institute College of Art
Email: jhirsh_at_mica.edu

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Received on Thu Sep 13 2007 - 16:29:52 EDT