Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



College of Creative Arts


Art History

Committee Chair

Paul Krainak.

Committee Co-Chair

Rober Hopson

Committee Member

Kristina Olson


The confrontation of societal myths has been a major concern of many female artists since the 1960s. However, confronting the ideological construction of myth is not enough to discredit it. The semiology of myth, according to Roland Barthes (1915-1980), simply absorbs this confrontation by placing the artist in the position of a signifier of the myth itself. Paradoxically, in order to discredit myth the artist must "speak the myth," in order to empty the ideological content of the myth through the adoption of mythical speech. This produces a counter-myth. Language as a vehicle of feminist expression has been a permeating issue central to 20th century women artists. However, their voices have often been silenced through the semiological structure of myth, unable to "speak the myth.".;This paper addresses several works of art by Janine Antoni (b. 1964, Freeport, Bahamas) who is able to overcome the powerful semiological construction of myth through the use of mythical speech and the creation of the counter-myth. She does this through a pluralistic approach that often combines performance and the object, which historicizes the work of art, semiologically mythologizing the myth. In order to fully examine Antoni's approach, a comparative analysis is necessary to determine the nature of myth and its relationship to visual art. Therefore, this paper begins by discussing three postmodern female artists: Sherrie Levine (b. 1947), Cindy Sherman (b. 1954) and Marina Abramovic (b. 1946). This approach establishes historical precedents of feminist art of the 20th century and attempts to reveal the various ways in which the semiological system of myth is able to distort the "speaker," through authorship and the body politic.