This dissertation examines the rare phenomenon of self-portrayal in the work of contemporary American male artists. The feminist art movement of the 1970s provided the aegis for many women artists to challenge the gendered dichotomy of artist/subject via the strategic deployment of their own bodies as artistic subjects. Yet remarkably little study has been dedicated to the question of why male artists so rarely make their own, allegedly privileged bodies the subjects of their work. I propose that the shifting definitions of masculinity in postwar America have in fact produced a stringently regulated economy of images of the male body. In four case studies of four contemporary American male artists (Kenneth Anger, Ron Athey, Robert Mapplethorpe, and Glenn Ligon), I employ visual analysis and comparative readings of juridical rulings and institutional policies that dictate the state of the body in contemporary American art.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation.May 2014. Major: Art History. Advisor: Jane Blocker. 1 computer file (PDF); vii, 372 pages.
Invisible Men: The Risks and Pleasures of Self-Portrayal in the Work of Contemporary American Male Artists.
Retrieved from the University of Minnesota Digital Conservancy,
Content distributed via the University of Minnesota's Digital Conservancy may be subject to additional license and use restrictions applied by the depositor.