Sunday, June 07, 2009

Debunking the Muse Myth, or Muse Schmuse.

Why is it that only male artists seem to talk about muses? All those European painters with their muses, even Uma to Quentin and Nicole to Baz. I've said before Baz needs a New Muse.

I'm calling these artists on their Muse Use. I reckon for most of them, it's just a euphemism for "mistress." You have to admit, it's a very convenient way of explaining the urge to have sex with your portrait model, photographic model, paint-mixer.

I have more respect for a bastard, such as Hemingway who has been described thusly, who might be serially monogamous and married - (with a little cross-over) - than someone who even talks about a muse.

I tell you. I'm creative, and I don't need a muse. My muse is the creative urge itself. I don't need someone good looking to sit near me to help my "flow."

What got me started on this was my mother told me the other day about a Nolan doco she'd watched. It revealed how Sidney was pissed off that Sunday Reed didn't run away with him and leave her husband. He went to Queensland to paint, and left his muse behind. But as mum said, "he had lots of other women."

Sidney Nolan was never short of a wife, it seemed. What makes people like this seemingly absolved of having to adhere to the same standards of decency as the rest of us? Their genius? I wonder if they are excused when they are men because we tend to think "oh, that's what men do." But if it had been a woman who'd left her first husband, a little baby, to go to Heide and paint and be an artist and fall in with bohemians, I don't think that woman would have become a national treasure the way he was.

Sub. I am very keen to hear your ideas on all this.

And what other Muse-Astist couplings are there today and in history? Why don't I feel the need for a Muse?


Rowena said...

Sofia Coppola was Marc Jacobs' muse there for a while. Though I don't think they were fucking since he is a gay.

Perseus said...

When I write something about a chick she is my muse. If I write something about a guy, he is the guy I'm writing something about.

Melba said...

Miss Ro Ro!! Hello. Looking forward to seeing you Sat noight. I knew Sofia was his "muse" and you're right, maybe a real muse doesn't involve sex, necessarily. But I reckon there are heaps of fake muses around.

Perseus, but are they based on real people? Sounds like they are. How does it work? I just make up people, but I borrow bits and pieces from real people (inc myself) and experiences and they get grafted into the whole thing.

Perseus said...

Lyrics for my band often refer to 'Mary' which is a generic name I use, but each song is always about someone initially. But I'm with you on the 'muse' thing. It's a stupid concept. It only works in ancient Greece.

Pepsi said...

Why don't I feel the need for a Muse?

I dont know, but I feel the need for Muse.

Seriously though, I see your point Melba, but I have muse inspired stuff and my brain inspired stuff, muse inspired stuff helps when brain is not in inspiring mode.

sublime-ation said...

Hear hear. Also these so called 'muses' often come up with many of these guys ideas (at least Quentin credits Uma). According to Janine Burke, Sunday came up with the idea of the Ned Kelly series, and this famous image. Told you I didn't like Sid.
Although it doesn't always have to do with sex. I photograph a few of my friends (female, and I'm not gay) who I call my muses. But that's a kinda joke, too. And a landscape can inspire me as much as they do.

sublime-ation said...

Also "But if it had been a woman who'd left her first husband, a little baby, to go to Heide and paint and be an artist and fall in with bohemians, I don't think that woman would have become a national treasure the way he was."

See: Hester, Joy.

squib said...

I tend to think of a muse as being that magical thing that helps you write. A creative urge like you said

But if I think of a muse as a person then I always think of that woman from 'I Capture the Castle'. She has long hair. Muses always have long hair

Melba said...

So maybe my muse is the creative urge. It doesn't have to take a human form? Or maybe it's not even a muse at all? It's just creativity. Why do we have to call it a muse?

Sub. What do you think of Mary? That's the question my mum asked me about that doco, after I told her I'd seen it. We had quite different ideas. I'd like to hear yours ideas - if they're not defamatory.

gullybogan said...

This muse thing is something that i'm still processing, so i can't give you my definitive comments on it yet. If i ever do write that novel, it'll be about the relationship between an artist and his muse...

*I* think a muse is a bit like an imaginary friend. I was a bit surprised when you said it was really just a mistress. Male artists are often very sexually predatory, and the 'muse' tag makes sense in that way, but if you look at Dali and Gala, or Picasso and Maar, there was something beyond simple sexual congress there. I reckon.

I'll let you know more when i've written that novel.