St Vincent: Postmodern Guitar Hero: Women in the Creative Arts Conference, ANU, Canberra

Berry, Megan (2017) St Vincent: Postmodern Guitar Hero: Women in the Creative Arts Conference, ANU, Canberra. Women in the Creative Arts, Australian National University, Canberra, 10-12 August, 2017. (Unpublished)

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Abstract or Summary

In their February 2017 cover article, Guitar World dubbed Annie Clark, known by her moniker St. Vincent, a “postmodern guitar hero” (Angle, 2016, p44). Rolling Stone has labelled her a “bona fide guitar god” (Weiner, 2014). Over the course of her career so far Clark has made a name for herself as a modern virtuoso guitarist. This is a notable achievement, given the guitar (particularly the electric guitar) has traditionally been a masculinely gendered instrument. Terms such as ‘guitar god’, ‘guitar hero’ or even ‘virtuoso’ are usually reserved for male guitarists, such as Slash, The Edge (U2), Eric Clapton, David Gilmour, or Jimi Hendrix. In fact, Rolling Stone’s “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time” contains only two entries of women guitarists– Bonnie Raitt and Joni Mitchell (2015). Joshua Hochman notes in ‘Disorienting Guitar Practice: an Alternative Archive’ (2016, p97), that “Guitar heroic’s celebration of hetero-masculine potency dominate[s] the instrument’s cultural identity, suggesting the electric guitar ought to be represented through a binary (an essentialist) understanding of gender and sexuality.” Annie Clark has made a significant cultural impact on the electric guitars cultural identity, perhaps significantly with the release of her self-titled album St. Vincent in 2014, which showcases her uncomfortable, yet highly listenable ‘alien pop’ tunes and guitar playing; and her Ernie Ball Music Man signature model guitar, designed by Clark herself to have “room for a breast”. (Clark, 2015). This paper explores how Annie Clark/St. Vincent subverts gendered stereotypes and expectations as a guitarist, and discusses the cultural and political significance of her work as a songwriter and creative.

Item Type:Paper presented at a conference, workshop, or other event which was not published in the proceedings
Keywords that describe the item:Conference Paper, Gender, Popular Music, Queer Theory, Postmodern
Subjects:M Music and Books on Music > M Music
Divisions:Schools > School of Media Arts
ID Code:5436
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Deposited On:30 Aug 2017 03:45
Last Modified:30 Aug 2017 03:45

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