This paper addresses a re-examination of the masculine construct in times of personal and historical crisis. At the core of this examination is the artist’s perspective on critical events that serve to alter out-dated gender stereotypes. These critical events include: family crisis (death, divorce, etc.), emotional crisis, political upheaval, as well as physical disablement. From broad social groups to the intimately personal, this paper attempts to focus on trends in the promotion of masculine prototypes that create conflict, and the impact this conflict has on one’s personal and creative direction. Two artists who have addressed gender construction relevant to historical crisis (and who will be discussed) include photographer/sculptor Hans Bellmer (WWII and the German influence regarding women) and American underground illustrator Robert Crumb (responding to the omniscient patriarchal father as well as masochism, sadomasochism and the denial of self resulting in the parodying of commercialized and staged voyeurism popularized in the media). Questions are raised regarding the myths of masculine role-playing and the masculine penchant for self-punishment. Art that explores these issues of masculine conflict will serve to illustrate the crisis of gender role-playing.
|Keywords:||Masculinity, Gender, Art, Personal Crisis, Historical Crisis|
Professor, Dept. of Art & Design, College of the Arts, Montclair State University, Upper Montclair, NJ, USA
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