TLDNR V

“[Amelia] Jones contextualized Wilke’s work within the framework of her “radical narcissism”7 and argued that the use of her own image throughout her art is far from the conventional or passively ‘feminine’ depiction of women as seen in advertising and other forms of mass media. Joanna Frueh, in her essay that accompanied the 1989 Wilke retrospective in Missouri, equated Wilke’s “positive narcissism”8 with a form of feminist self-exploration and an assertion of a female erotic will. Both Frueh and Jones cogently argue for a “positive narcissism” that expunges itself of the negative connotations of Freudian psychoanalytic theory and, in contrast, actively and unapologetically engages in self-love. Wilke enacts an aggressive form of narcissistic self-imaging that defiantly solicits the patriarchal gaze which she then, as Jones writes, “graft[s] onto and into her body/self, taking hold of it and reflecting it back to expose and exacerbate its reciprocity.” 
Wilke’s active solicitation of the “male gaze” as a method of feminist critique is best exemplified in her photographic series entitled S.O.S. Starification Object Series: An Adult Game of Mastication (figs. 1-2), a series which had been originally produced as a box-set artist’s multiple for the 1975 exhibition “Artists Make Toys” at the Clocktower in New York . Wilke commissioned a commercial photographer to capture her semi-nude self-portraits in which she adopts the exaggerated postures of the celebrity and fashion industries.” [Jennifer Linton on Hannah Wilke]

“According to the American Medical Association, narcissistic personality disorder is defined as “a condition in which a person is excessively preoccupied with personal adequacy, power, prestige and vanity, and mentally unable to see the destructive damage they are causing to themselves and others.” Consider, in this light, the late Chris Burden’s self mutilations, which included shooting himself in the arm and crucifying himself onto the hood of a car; Marina Abramovic’s recent entreaties to innocent bystanders in New York and London to queue for hours to share her “charismatic space”; and Shia LeBeouf’s latest grasp for undivided attention, #AllMyMovies, which consisted of a movie marathon complete with bizarro fans, rubbernecking press, and a half-asleep star munching on popcorn in one of the front rows. These and other fresh demonstrations of over-the-top egotism constitute a pandemic of art world narcissism that could, if left unchecked, turn into a serious mental health emergency.” [Christian Viveros-Fauné on Artists]

“Abramović noted that early in her career she felt the need to prove herself and to substantiate the work. In Lovers: The Great Wall Walk performance in 1988, Abramović and fellow performance artist and collaborator Ulay, began on opposite ends of the Great Wall of China and walked towards each other for 90 days, the performance culminating with them meeting in the middle and ending their twelve-year relationship. Following that project, the closure and independence she felt marked a turning point in her career where she was emboldened to entwine and explore femininity in her work, ‘After I finish this Chinese Wall I didn’t need to prove to anybody anything anymore. That was a really turning point for me. . .’ Indeed, if Lovers marked the end of one chapter of her career, Cleaning the Floor marks the apex of yet another; a performance that speaks to the inherent contradictions in what is expected of women. They must look the part of the screen siren while performing the chores of the domestic servant.” [Phillips on Marina Abramović]

“… there does seem to be an overall correlation between self-adoration and monetary success and exposure. A 2013 study similarly claimed that narcissistic people are more likely to consider themselves creative, and thus take part in creative endeavors like art, than their non-narcissistic counterparts. And as Zhou’s study concludes: “More narcissistic artists are offered a greater number of solo exhibitions and more group exhibits. They are included in more museum and gallery holdings and they are ranked higher by art scholars.” [Priscilla Frank on Artists]

“…there are a great many middle-aged critics, collectors, curators, and gallerygoers who regard this artist, who has spent a generation photographing herself as a tramp or a tragedienne, as their hometown heroine. Sherman is the foxy character whose shows at Metro Pictures in SoHo back in the 1980s were Manhattan’s top-rated pop-culture-meets-high-culture roller coaster ride. It doesn’t seem to matter that Sherman’s rise fit ever so neatly with the helium-balloon exuberance of those years when Warholism and Reaganomics joined forces to create the lunatic asylum the art world is today. It was a time when many of the men and women who are now cultural arbiters were young. And bliss it was, or so some will tell you.” [Jed Perl on Cindy Sherman]

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