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When discussing musicians with an interest in outré topics, the late, great David Bowie would sit near the top of any list compiled. From his fascination with Kirlian photography through to the occult themes he embedded in his music, Bowie’s career seemed built on a deep and abiding interest in exploring new ideas, changes of identity, the power of symbolism and heretical knowledge.

Those interested in exploring some of these facets of Bowie’s career (and those of other artists) might like to check out a new anthology titled Masks: Bowie and Artists of Artifice, edited by James Curcio (available from Amazon US and Amazon UK).

Here’s the blurb:

“Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.” — Oscar Wilde  

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. 

Masks: Bowie and Artists of Artifice

See the publisher’s page for Masks for a full listing of the essays and contributors in the anthology – looks like a fascinating read!