MASKS (Book)

Bowie and Artists of Artifice

Edited by James Curcio

This interdisciplinary anthology explores the complex relationships in an artist’s life between fact and fiction, presentation and existence, and critique and creation, and examines the work that ultimately results from these tensions.

Edition

This interdisciplinary anthology explores the complex relationships in an artist’s life between fact and fiction, presentation and existence, and critique and creation, and examines the work that ultimately results from these tensions.
 
Using a combination of critical and personal essays and interviews, MASKS presents Bowie as the key exemplifier of the concept of the 'mask', then further applies the same framework to other liminal artists and thinkers who challenged the established boundaries of the art/pop academic worlds, such as Friedrich Nietzsche, Oscar Wilde, Søren Kierkegaard, Yukio Mishima and Hunter S. Thompson. Featuring contributions from John Gray and Slavoj Žižek and interviews with Gary Lachman and Davide De Angelis, this book will appeal to scholars and students of cultural criticism, aesthetics, and the philosophy of art; practising artists; and fans of Bowie and other artists whose work enacts experiments in identity.

Jamie Curcio (BA, Bard College) is a writer, artist, and transmedia producer living in Boston. He is the author of numerous books including Join My Cult! (New Falcon, 2004), Narrative Machines and Party at the World’s End (Mythos Media, 2017, 2013), and former editor for Rebel News, and The Immanence of Myth (Weaponized, 2011). He is the current editor at ModernMythology.net.

Acknowledgements 

Foreword: The Shifting Shaman of the Modern Age – John Gray

Introduction: Somebody Else Took His Place, and Bravely Cried… – James Curcio

Chapter 1: Masks All the Way Down – James Curcio

Chapter 2: Mishima, Bowie and the Anti-Metaphysics of the Mask – Roy Starrs

Chapter 3: Not All That Glitters Is Gold: Ziggy Stardust and the Fractured Mask of a Generation – Lúcio Reis-Filho

Chapter 4: Watch That Man: Splicing Tape with Burroughs and Bowie – Casey Rae

Chapter 5: From Vigilius Haufniensis to Ziggy Stardust: Pseudonyms, Irony and Truth in Kierkegaard and Bowie – Tara Isabella Burton

Chapter 6: Mascara and Marriage: The Twin Masks of David Bowie and Robert Smith – Tom Powers

Chapter 7: The Great Contrarians – Yahia Lababidi

Chapter 8: Seeing Things Like Hunter: Ralph Steadman’s Cartoon Visions as Revelatory Masks in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas – Kevin J. Hunt

Chapter 9: The Beautiful Madness: The Primacy of Wonder in the Work of Thomas Ligotti – J. F. Martel

Chapter 10: The Skin and the Double: Firbank’s Aesthetics of Surface – Michael Hunter

Chapter 11: God’s Twisted Identity – Slavoj Žižek

Chapter 12: Wishful Beginnings and Creative Ends: Conversation with Davide De Angelis – Davide De Angelis and James Curcio

Chapter 13: On Existentialism and the Occult: Conversation with Gary Lachman – Gary Lachman and James Curcio

Chapter 14: The Many Masks of Manifestation – John Harrigan

Epilogue: Art for Art’s Sake – James Curcio

Notes on Contributors 

Index

"Artists who swim in liminal seas, who speak through symbol, myth and mask embodying our deepest and darkest dreams, both intrigue and terrify. Intrinsically compelled or performatively constructed, they become our shamans by proxy.  But Curcio delves further, exploring the complex relationship between the artist and the projections and obsessions that swirl around them, not always transforming but sometimes merging or devouring them. It is a fascinating journey into the mysterious energies surrounding artists of artifice." 
 
Tanja Stark – artist

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