The Archibald Prize is Australia’s most prestigious, contemporary and contentious portraiture prize. Subjects for the Archibald include personalised portraits of celebrities and friends and self- portraits, as seen through the eyes of Australia’s leading and aspiring contemporary artists. Recently, critics have raised questions as to the trends of ‘The Archie’. Allen (2010) argues the Archibald has become predictable with its preference towards ‘gigantic photorealism’, while Crawford (2008) believes the portrait prize is nothing more than a ‘media blockbuster ... epitomising conservatism’.
But a review of the winners and shortlisted works of recent years reveals a trend towards portraying masculinity as vulnerable, frail and to an extent ‘broken’. What is your opinion of the portrayal of men in the Archibald Prize?
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