The Spectacle of Visual Culture

Garoian, Charles R.; Gaudelius, Yvonne M.
June 2004
Studies in Art Education;Summer2004, Vol. 45 Issue 4, p298
Academic Journal
In this article we characterize the ideology of visual culture as �spectacle pedagogy� in that images teach us what and how to see and think and, in doing so, they mediate the ways in which we interact with one another as social beings. Given that we are always immersed in visual culture, an understanding of its impact on social relations enables art teachers and their students to distinguish between its corporate, institutionalized expressions of subjectivity, and their personal expressions of subjectivity through artmaking. While the critique of the former promotes a narcissistic fixation with the dominant order of visual culture the latter makes it possible for students to challenge its commodity fetishism through the plurality of their personal perspectives. To enable such plurality in the art classroom, we recommend the conceptual strategies of collage, montage, assemblage, installation, and performance art as the means to expose, examine, and critique the spectacle of visual culture. It is through the indeterminate modes of address of these mediums that students' creative and political agency is immanently possible as they learn to engage the spectacle politics of visual culture as critical citizens.


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