The Myth of Artisthood

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?


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. Among the proofs of its importance is the fact that each and every later contributor to the essay series has referred – whether positively or negatively – to the propositions advanced in it.

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.

author: Camiel van Winkel
design: Stout/Kramer, Rotterdam
2013 / ISBN 978-90-76936-40-6 / €15