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The Myth of Artisthood

Camiel van Winkel


The Myth of Artisthood

Camiel van Winkel


Art / Bookazines / Series / Philosophy / Theory



Graphic designer

Stout / Kramer

Number of pages


Book size

12.4 x 18.6 cm



Translation: Mike Ritchie. Editor: Lex ter Braak. Final editor: Janey Tucker

This is a publication in a series of essays commissioned by the Mondriaan Fonds (former Netherlands Foundation for Visual Arts, Design and Architecture). 

For more information: Mondriaan Fonds

Artisthood is a myth – even today. Just as the aura of the work of art, demolished on countless occasions in the twentieth century, rises repeatedly from the ashes, so too clichéd ideas about the visionary artist and the healing power of art continue to recur. Such commonplaces are the most resilient of all; they have a mythical power. Are all artists, by definition, trapped in the myth of artisthood? Can this myth be ignored, defused or even dismantled? Is any kind of artistic practice conceivable without mystification and a claim to special status?

The essay was one of the first in a series issued by the Mondriaan Fund (former Fonds BKVB) to promote thinking about art and artisthood. In the years since its original publication, Van Winkel's essay has made a significant contribution to the contemporary discourse on what it means to be an artist today.The text developed out of Van Winkel's work as professor of the research group Visual Arts at AKV|St.Joost, Avans University, 's-Hertogenbosch.

Five years after its publication, the continuing interest shown in the subject by the international art world has now prompted the publication of this English-language edition, prepared in collaboration with the author and with an afterword written by him.

Camiel van Winkel (1964) writes on contemporary art and occasionally curates exhibitions. Based in Amsterdam, he teaches art theory and art philosophy at Sint-Lukas University College of Art and Design in Brussels. He is advisor at the Rijksakademie, Amsterdam. He is the author of Moderne leegte. Over kunst en openbaarheid (1999), The Regime of Visibility (2005) and During the Exhibition the Gallery Will Be Closed. Contemporary Art and the Paradoxes of Conceptualism (2012).