Art Myth and Revolt: Cy Twombly Term Paper

Pages: 4 (1121 words)  ·  Style: Chicago  ·  Bibliography Sources: 0  ·  File: .docx  ·  Topic: Art  (general)

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Myth and Revolt: Cy Twombly, Anselm Kiefer, and Louise Bourgeois

This exhibition will feature the works of three of the most heroic names in contemporary art - Cy Twombly, Anselm Kiefer, and Louise Bourgeois. Each of these artists has produced a vast body of work that makes extensive use of myth through idiosyncratic - and hence, revolutionary means. As such, Bourgeois, Kiefer, and Twombly are in many ways the last of the modernists. At the same time, their output serves as a sort of bridge, connecting the expressionistic tendencies of the 20th century to the neo-conceptual practices of the present. Through an extensive evaluation of surface and meaning, these three artists have each left an indelible mark in the art historical canon in their ongoing investigation of the foundational myths that continue to intrigue our civilization in the subtlest ways.

Each of the artists exhibited deals with myth in different ways. For Twombly, his concerns are mainly literary and historical. In Apollo and the Artist, a series of drawings that revolve around the word VIRGIL evokes the author of the Aeneid, who is credited with importing Greek civilization to Rome. Discourse on Commodus, a series from the 1960s, addresses the notorious mad son of Marcus Aurelius, who was eventually murdered by an athlete named Narcissus.

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Of course, what is most discernible about Twombly's worth is not its entanglement with mythic themes, but the strong gesturality that comprise the artist's surfaces. Leda and the Swan, a painting that references Leonardo - himself a mythic figure in the history of art - is characteristic of Twombly's anarchic style. The large painting consists of a series of crazed scribblings and feathery shapes that manage to coalesce into a truly stunning formlessness. In other works, ancient graffiti's influence on Twombly makes itself felt in his scrawls across the canvas, which transport us to the ancient Roman world - a world Twombly lives at a remove from, as a resident of modern day Rome.

Term Paper on Art Myth and Revolt: Cy Twombly, Anselm Assignment

But it is not just painting that Twombly is known for. In sculptures like the bronze by the Ionian Sea, Twombly evokes classical works like the Odyssey and the Iliad, foundational myths that our civilization has been built on.

Whereas Twombly's conception of myth connects the artist to a larger historical tradition via literature, Louise Bourgeois's work concerns itself with psychic myth. Mainly, she approaches myth from a psychoanalytic vantage point, unearthing archetypal relationships between parents and child that form the center of Freud's Oedipal complex. Bourgeois turns to her own past to find the universal in the particular. As a child, Bourgeois's father had an affair with her governess, who resided in the family home. Bourgeois's mother was aware of this fact, yet she refused to acknowledge it. This complex sexual web is the fabric upon which Bourgeois has woven some of her most well-known sculptural works, including Maman, a giant spider that is both savage in its potential lethality as well as protective in its sheltering poise.

Bourgeois also concerns herself with another facet of Freudian myth - namely, that of the fetish. Femme Couteau (Knife Woman), a work from 1969, has been described by Lucy Lippard as "a wrapped and folded marble blade with delicate pudenda exposed." This smooth object evokes a clitoris, the ultimate sign of female sexuality, while simultaneously calling to mind an… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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"Art Myth and Revolt: Cy Twombly."  Essaytown.com.  May 12, 2008.  Accessed May 10, 2021.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/art-myth-revolt-cy-twombly-anselm/413024.