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
Assistant Professor, Modern and Contemporary Art and Architecture
Department of Art History
Maryland Institute College of Art
Email: jhirsh AT mica.edu