Stevie Chancellor
Classed Consumption of Popular Art

One sticking point that I just can't shake this week is the appeal of pop art to non-elite, mass audiences. Alloway said, "It is impossible to see [mass art] clearly within a code of aesthetics associated with minorities with pastoral and upperclass ideas because mass art is urban and democratic." Several other of my classmates have touched on this in their posts, but I wanted to comment further on cultural consumption and class and modern art. In particular, I want to look at the notion of pop art as democratic and open to all.

external image omnivore-delight.jpgI took a great class last year called New Media Culture, which looked at the emergence of new patterns of behavior surrounding media texts, and in this class's case, television texts. A lot of the same cultural analysis can apply to our understanding of pop art. Pierre Bourdieu proposed that consumption of cultural goods was classed in the 1970s - being a member of a privileged class made it easier. Later, Richard Peterson and Albert Simkus studied musical tastes and concluded that the era of cultural snobbery was over and that "omnivores" would dominate the cultural consumption landscape. Omnivoriousness is the pattern of consuming culture across multiple class and social boundaries. High status is “being redefined as an appreciation of the aesthetics of every distinctive form along with an appreciation of the high arts” (Peterson and Simkus 169). So, a good omnivore would go to the opera on Friday night and afterwards listen to their AC/DC album on the ride home.

One could easily extend this to pop art and argue that it appeals to a mass audience and is heavily democratic. The forms are simpler and easier to understand. It is open for everyone to participate in and view. It is often mass produced (in the case of Lichenstein and Warhol especially). It seems that pop art would be a low-brow cultural item that has mass appeal but appeals to the upper class omnivore because they truly aren't biased.

But, like most analyses, this understanding is very incomplete. While some may argue that art is becoming democratized, many cultural scholars believe that the value of "democratization" has been embodied by the upper class to . Josee Johnston and Shyton Baumann examined gourmet food writing. They proposed that the cultural consumption patterns of omnivores rely on the negotiation between democracy and distinction. Democratic food enjoyment necessitates a “meritocracy” of food preferences (169) which espouses a value of democracy. BUT, many critics still value uniqueness, originality, and exoticism. "Boundaries between legitimate and illegitimate culture are redrawn in new complex ways that balance the need for distinction with the competing ideology of democratic equality and cultural populism” (Johnston and Baumann 197).

external image hamilton.jpgRegarding art in particular, cultural scholars have found that many members of lower classes still do not like art because they don't get it (Erikkson). Members of the upper class that are omnivores and involve themselves in the production of pop art still value the uniqueness and novelty of art itself. In a study about abstract art in Finnish homes, Birgit Eriksson looked at the preferences of upper middle class art owners and their like of abstract art. She found that "[omnivores] have a preference for innovative experiments and hybrids instead of perfection in well-defined genres” (Eriksson 485-6). One of the interesting things about pop art (to me) is that you both have to have cultural background to understand it but also you don't need it. To understandg Lichenstein and fully appreciate it, you need to know it references comic book tropes. Hamilton's work becomes more relevant (and somewhat ironic in my opinion) when you have a historical understanding of gender and class roles in the 1950s. Pop art isn't mass accessible like many claim it to be. (At the risk of sounding like a snob,) if a lot of people don't get it but still claim to like it, it's not accessible. You still need a cultural "decoder" to understand it!

Works Cited
Alloway, Lawrence. "The Arts and the Mass Media," Architectural Design & Construction, February 1958.

Eriksson, Birgit. "The Uses of Art: Contemporary Changes in Cultural Consumption and the Function of Art." Culture Unbounded: Journal of Current Cultural Research. 3. (2011): 476-88. Print.

Hamilton, Richard. Just what is it that makes today's homes so different, so appealing?.

Johnston, Josee, and Shyon Baumann. "Democracy versus Distinction: A Study of Omnivorousness in Gourmet Food Writing." American Journal of Sociology. 113.1 (2007).

Peterson, Richard A., and Albert Simkus. "How Musical Tastes Mark Occupational Status Groups." Cultivating Differences: Symbolic Boundaries and the Making of Inequality.. Ed. Michele Lamont and Ed. Marcel Fournier. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1992.

Sagorika Sen
Bill Bernbach's 60s creative ad revolution.

Often pop art in the 60’s has references to art, music, hippies and fashion. However this pop art found it’s way into the bylanes of Madison Avenue as well in the form of creative revolution.

1960’s advertising in fact experienced it’s own sort of cultural revolution . In the fifties ad agencies were often looked as allies of giant corporations, giving them what they want.People were skeptical about advertising and viewed ad men with criticism. However in the 60s that was about to change with a man named Bill Bernbach. Bill Bernbach was that change that advertising needed. Bill Bernbach’s creative revolution came at a time when American society was driven by consumerism. American consumers wanted big cars, big everything. And suddenly you had a man who was forcing you to essentially “Think small”..
1959 Mercury Ad-01.jpg

Whenever people think of the sixties they think of pop art , however I do think that there is a co relation that exists between the pop art of the 60s and the creative revolution brought about by Bernbach. They were essentially the same philosophies that basically existed in different realms of society.In fact Andy Warhol was working in retail advertising in the fifties & much of his art work used similar techniques that advertisements were using (Warlaumont 63).

I think that advertising was also equally responsive to the pop art movement of the sixties. “the pres- sures of the urban environment, and rampant mechaniza- tion and commercialization of society,” was causing many to rethink conventional imagery (Warlaumont 62). In the fifties car print ads, made their cars more larger in size and they shot these ads in supposedly appealing settings. Bernbach’s Volkswagen ad was a direct response to this consumer driven form of advertising.


Bernbach’s Avis ad campaign too created a stir because he challenged capitalism's obsession with being # 1

works cited :


===Langford Wiggins Week 7

Van Gogh Loves Pop Art!!

Mass produced art has been a reoccurring practice in hopes of providing beginning artists with a chance to perform high quality works. The connection between mass produced art, mass art, and Pop Art was heavily grasped after this week’s reading and was supported by the movie Mona Lisa Smile, starring Julia Roberts and many others. In the movie there is a scene where Julia Roberts, who plays an art professor at this all girls academy, brings forth the facts of Van Gogh being a major form of mass distributed art. “Van Gogh in Box-Paint by Numbers” was a way for art lovers to be artist themselves, which also contributed to Van Gogh’s role in Pop Art/culture.

external image DSCN0330.JPGThis movie supports the claim made by art critic Clement Greenberg about the idea of pop art/culture, "popular, commercial art and literature, with their chromeotypes, magazine covers, illustrations, etc..." All of these activities to Greenberg’s knowledge "ersatz culture... destined for those who are insensible to the value of genuine culture welcomes and cultivates this insensibility". If one stands by this belief, the must agree with the idea of conforming to society. Believing that art deriving from another art form defeats the idea of new or original works of art. Does Pop Art ersatz culture? Or does Pop art give a new meaning to culture and the art work reproduced?

I agreed with Alloway in mentioning that, “popular arts of our industrial civilization are geared to technical changes which occur, not gradually, but violently and experimentally.” If one looks at Pop Art you can see the use of technology creating new expressions, new meaning and enhancing entertainment. If techhnology impacts culture and vice versa, then remixing art must impact culture and the idea prospects of future art phenomenons.

Discussing Van Gogh I thought it would be most useful to include Pop Art work that utilize Van Gogh’s mastery and invokes the use of new technology and instills new idea in our culture.


lady.png This photo was taken using an HP PhotoSmart 735 By: Dave MacDowell Groundskeeper_Willie_Van_Gogh_by_limpfish.jpg Simpsons


Work Cited

Lawrence Alloway, "The Arts and the Mass Media," Architectural Design & Construction, February 1958. [the article often credited with starting the notion of "pop art"]
Alloway, "Popular Culture and Pop Art," Studio International, July-August 1969: 17-21.

Week 7
Pop Art

Paulina Johnson
Week 7

“pop art is popular, transient, witty, gimmicky, sexy, young.”- Richard Hamilton

It is difficult to determine whether this quote, featured on the front inside flap of the cover of Pop Art, is referring to Pop Art as a genre or the actual book it is printed upon. It describes both. It’s interesting to think that all of the adjectives Hamilton used to describe pop art do not apply to the traditional notion of high art, and how this further classifies the difference between the two art forms. The introduction of the topic noted that “Pop artists removed most of the marks of an artist's direct "touch" and subverted expectations by and-making paintings, sculptures, and prints to look like they could have been machine-made or "anyone could make it" knowing the techniques.” Does the fact that pop art makes use of appropriation and different sources of automatically mean that its creators are eclipsing their personality, unique touch, and soul? Is it possible to create anything without a piece of your soul embedded in the creation? I would argue that each creation has remnants of the emotion and personality of the artist within it, even though it may not be as visible of a fingerprint as a signature or a scroll included on each painting (Was this Velazquez, Goya, El Greco, or …?? I can’t remember).

After seeing some of the classics, I was inspired to find some contemporary examples of pop art. These were some of my favorites:

“Audrey Hepburn: hipster, mid-century, modern, pop art portrait style.”- the devilshop, etsy

Kevin Cherry
Kevin Cherry

“Wall Street Journal” David Habben
“Wall Street Journal” David Habben

“Wall Street Journal” David Habben
“Wall Street Journal” David Habben

Here is Man Ray's "Teardrops" piece (not contemporary), which I believe is embedded into the piece below it.

"Teardrops" Man Ray
"Teardrops" Man Ray

“Feveriero/ February”- Mari Coan
“Feveriero/ February”- Mari Coan

Artist and Title Unknown
Artist and Title Unknown

Marilyn Monroe Print, modern Pop Art style" by inspirationprints on Etsy

I found this piece titled, “The Book of Love”

"The Book of Love" Mario Luis, 35th Street Series
"The Book of Love" Mario Luis, 35th Street Series

and I thought it was reminiscent of Rauschenberg’s piece “Rebus.”

external image RauschenbergRebus.jpg

I noticed that an interesting question was raised in one of our lecture presentations: Due to the fact that pop art contains so many references to works of the past, what happens when you do not know what you need to know in order to understand the message of the piece? The medium carries the message of the piece, but that very message is lost in translation if the consumer does not have the tools at his or her disposal to digest it. One of the most beautiful things about art is that its nature is to be open to interpretation. In spite of this, if one does not understand the historical context--the source information--the appropriation--of the work of art, is the entire meaning of the piece lost, or does it open itself to new interpretation? What happens when we lose historical context?

In our exploration of pop art, we are once again confronted with the notion of intertextuality. The examples I posted above with Marilyn Monroe and the lyrics to “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend” demonstrate this., a site started by Joseph-Gordon Levitt described as “an open, collaborative recording company,” where people use the internet as a virtual studio in order to create.

A sense of remix is encouraged on HitRecord. This video, a call for submissions for text-remix, demonstrates this:


Week 7
Meggie Schmidt

Art can be made out of anything. I interned one summer for Prospect 2.0 New Orleans. This company set up venues around the city of New Orleans for artists to display their work. The artists were local, national and international. My job as an intern was to write about each artist’s background in art, why their work was unique, and what people could expect if they came to an event. Some of the artist’s works were created from things that I didn’t think art could come from. It was truly amazing how the various mixed media sources were turned into amazing pieces of art. The concept of “art out of anything” held true for these artists. A few artists that I wrote about for the internship are discussed below.

Nick Cave used his background as a fashion designer to create his works. All of his elaborate works made from sources of mixed media (beads, sequins, buttons, feathers, twigs) and were wearable. They are called “soundsuits.” Cave would stage performances with these “soundsuit” in which work would come alive.

R. Luke Duboise is “A programmer as well as a composer, DuBois uses his own software to create his interactive sound and video performances based on what he calls time-lapse phonography, a sonic and digital relative to time-lapse photography. Just as a long camera exposure fuses motion into a single image, spectral averaging produces a sort of average timbre or visual.”

Ashton Ramsey is a New Orleans artist who works with newspaper clipping to create wearable works of art. Often his works incorporate a historical or current event to make a political statement.

Dan Tague is also a New Orleans conceptual artist. He has become known for his different prints of money that have resulted in a series which depicts the appeal and power ofmoney as root of everything in society. By folding up money, particularly dollar bills, he has been able to create messages within his distinct artwork using the letters printed on the bills. His artwork incorporates mediums such as sculpture and photography, while making a political statement that addresses and responds to the concerns of today’s world.


Mount Fatmi is a Moroccan artist who creates art from various media and elements that are often installed at a site for a long period of time. His works focus on political and global issues, drawing international attention.

The article in the Los Angeles times talks about how art is eclectic. In my opinion, all of the artist’s works above are eclectic. Eclectic is a positive terms because it shows each artists creativity and ability to construct art out of things that were previously not used for art work. Their works have ties to the pop art era in which art started to incorporate elements that were not traditionally used in art (often called low art). Their works continue to influence modern and contemporary art.

Current Critic's view of eclecticism and hybridity in art: Christopher Knight, LA Times, 11.1.2006
Prospect 2.0. New Orleans, LA. Power Point and other publications. June 2011.

Week 7: The Evolution of the Automata

Elizabeth-Burton Jones
external image images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQW2MNAW2W6PhbX5tSlDfUgmKeW5WoIGPSXKXGeih0Pba8_lcvyJAexternal image 245px-frans_hals_-_portret_van_renc3a9_descartes1.jpg?w=604external image auto1.gif

external image M091217.jpgIf we are going to include philosophy in our search for hybridity and remixing, then why not dust off some Cartesian theories?

In my Philosophy of the Body class last year, one of the beginning sections included the study of the automata and the evolution of the automata. During the course we read about Descartes and his key theories. Then we looked at the story of Francine and the automata version of Francine.

For a little background,
"’Descartes' Baby’ -- an apocryphal story that Descartes was so grief-stricken at the death of his 5-year-old daughter Francine that he built a life-like robot of her that he took with him everywhere till it was discovered by a ship-captain who was so horrified by it that he threw it overboard: This is another example of our overwhelming (and no doubt innate) "mind-reading" tendency to interpret creatures that look and behave as if they feel as if they really do feel (even if the feeling that evokes in us is horror or disgust)."

Then in the same class we hit fast forward and looked into the evolution of the automata. We watched so many interesting videos about robots and how they are becoming more and more advanced. Today, robots can be very helpful and in some cases replace people.

external image human-vs-robot-09.jpg

external image walledancingrobotplaysmp3s.jpg

The reason that I brought the automata into focus, was inspired by the Alloway webpage. On the page it is mentioned that the artist “specialize[s]… automata” among other categories. Also, throughout the readings, the word "machine" was used.
I kept thinking about robots and their relationship with Pop Art. Now I am a huge Andy Warhol fan, and I look forward to studying him more in depth in this class. However, for this lesson, I could not help but think about various forms of Pop Art and the definition of Pop Art and the similarities to the robots of today. external image retro_robot_pop_art_by_ikewb-d39rrg6.png
"Pop Art is: Popular (designed for a mass audience), Transient (short-term solution), Expendable (easily-forgotten) , Low cost, Mass produced, Young (aimed at youth),Witty, Sexy, Gimmicky, Glamorous, Big Business"

The idea of robots as a form of Pop Art fits into every category except “low cost”. Therefore, if we are to indeed make robots a form of Pop Art, then we can examine the past and present of robots and compare it with the past and present of Pop Art.

external image 3289362831_4eac0c9d43.jpg

I see similarities of the two because Pop Art was often criticized. Alloway hints at the tension between critics when he says “Critics of the mass media often complain of the hostility towards intellectuals and the lack of respect for art expressed there, but, as I have tried to show, the feeling is mutual”.
In the origins of automata and robots, they were looked at with “disgust” comparable to Descartes and the Doll. However, down the road both art forms became popular and appreciated for their talents and help that they can offer. Pop Art became accepted and trendy. Robots are cutting edge. But here’s the big question: what happens now?

With the world of robots, they have become more and more separated. On one side, people have the robots that are going to be used to help certain professional fields, some robots are just for entertainment, and some robots are just another way to silence a gender. Then, the robots have another branch devoted to performance. Can the performance (or robot demonstrations) be interpreted as performance Pop Art or is it in a category all by itself.
external image images?q=tbn:ANd9GcSr0ZXgoLWr-hWXQXsaxlLXY3ei1l021xK8BNZNfHf1KEPhTfx1

"Celebrobot"A few weeks ago, we talked about recording artists becoming more and more bionic. Is this a tangible form of Pop Art? For year celebrities have emulated this form of becoming robots. Is this another form of art within an art form? What is the fascination with celebrities becoming more and more like robots?

external image michael_jackson.jpg


What’s the mirror between fantasy (or robots) and reality. external image images?q=tbn:ANd9GcSAn1mwuWxOWQYeUIHMy74WNGOGpEF5Sly9SRY-IGkNChA4Y6A4yg

Being an “electric girl” briding the gap and
creating a world where everything is present.

All of these examples show the trend of becoming more bionic. This trend is slowly but surely trickling down to the "everyman". Therefore, is this trend Pop Art?
How can you be bionic?

Makeup seems to be the key to making people more bionic. Also, other transformations or techniques, such as training yourself to dance like a robot.

But, what I really would like to know is summed up by Ingrid Michaelson's latest album title "Human Again". I would like to know when we will be "human again"?
Can robots be a form of Pop Art?
With all of this said, will pop art become as diverse and segmented?

external image images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQywRnWx14zN1RDYDTIjuRZ5YjeHX-CjEF8rfCYSDbqmmh_harJYA
Works cited:

Elisabet Diaz Sanmartin.

Beyond the “Objet Trouvé”

Alloways mentions in the article “Arts and The Mass Media”, that it is in the “sensitiveness to the variables of our life and economy” that mass-produced art is near to the definition of culture, understood as being the “whole complex of human activities”. Under this consideration, years later, Pop Art defended its position in the fine art industry against the elitist approach of some critics that couldn’t conceive of mass-produced art inside fine art framework. However, Pop Art quickly conquered art galleries, museums and a pivotal place in Art History with the honor of being the movement that settle our “daily stuff” in this places forever. Alloways also empathizes the phenomenon of mass-population of the earth as the trigger of the democratization of arts and a new paradigm opportunity for artists, fine arts, critics and art consumers. Mass-population was intrinsic in Pop Art movement, not only in essence but also formally. It inherited the “objet trouvé” and ready-mades from the Dadaist artist Marcel Duchamp, to deeply explore artistic expression through the combination of orphan objects. In that sense, we can observe a genuine degree of romanticism in Pop Art movement. For example, Rauschenberg saw the provocative Duchamp’s “Fountain” as the most beautiful sculpture he has ever seen. (Honnef, 8)

Today, mass-population and the “stuff” left behind are still present in art manifestations but they have lost their previous romanticism. The excitement about “orphan objects” has been substituted by an astonishment of the growing amount of “stuff” that the mass consumer culture is producing. Thus, there is a reflection from part of the artist about the relationship between humans and useless objects.

Luis Canogar. Otras Geologías series


Luis Canogar. Otras Geologías series

Daniel Canogar is a Spanish artist based in New York City who has been exploring this concept across his artwork. To create his installations he uses objects that he has found in landfills, mostly electronic material such as cables, light bulbs, or computer parts. As he states in his website he is trying to revive those dead objects by projecting light or images as an in an intent of “exorcise” the energy compacted within them. In his last work Sikka, a sculptural installation makes an analogy between the form and use of the ancient forms of sequis used in the Babylonian Empire with the structure created by the shinning DVD’s. By projecting Hollywood old movies he explores the relationship between image and power. He has also an interesting and gimmicky photo series with electronic waste and human bodies. The early Pop Art traces described by Richard Hamilton in his letter to the Smithon marriage can be found in Canogar’s art: the source of his material, the theme centered on human experience, repetition or wittiness among others. Canogar also uses the collage technique, but in this case with the layers of the Photoshop software to manipulate and display the elements.
Trash People. Red Square. moscow. Artist: Ha Schult.
Another artist that uses landfill material to create his art is the German artist Ha Schult. His art can be connected aesthetically with Canogar’s art, but the statement behind his artwork is much more critical and seeks to make a claim. Sincethe half of the 60’s Ha Schult has had a productive career doing Art happenings with trash. Today. he is considered among the firsts environmental artists and his work tries to awareness. Trash People is one of his latest landmark works; 1000 human sized sculptures made out of rubbish emulating an army. The display of this “army” in public spaces is highly shocking. (Ha Schult website) With the art of Ha Schult, the use of “orphan objects” is taking a new dimension. It has lost the romantic idolized feature of Rauschenberg artwork and the critical approach taken by pop artist in order to situate their work as artt. It has evolve, and now art produced out of “trash” tries to denounce on global issues. The “objet trouvé” has become “trash trouvé”.

Trash People. In El Cairo. Artist: Ha Schult

Works cited__
Lawrence Alloway, "__The Arts and the Mass Media__," Architectural Design & Construction, February 1958.
The New York TimesDecember 23, 2005 Art Review |
'Combines'Daniel Canogar. Artista Visual.
Richard Hamilton,__Letter on Pop Art__, 1957.Art Out of Anything: Rauschenberg in Retrospect
Trash. Trash People

Lauren Jones
The Case for Handwriting

external image handwriting.obama.jpg

Today’s society is incredibly technology-centric. We shop for clothes, order food, read the newspaper, watch television programming, and communicate with our friends across the globe through the amazing advancements of technology and the internet. How, then, does all of this effect our society? How are our personal relationships shaped in this state of mass consumption and mass production?

In Lawrence Alloway’s “The Arts and Mass Media”, the author describes the state of our modern culture as evolving – we as a people affect our culture and, in turn, it affects us right back. Through art and various mass produced products, we reaffirm our status in the society of the ‘now’. What are the implications of said ‘now’ culture and what are the consequences therein?

Due to globalization, we have moved away from face-to-face conversations to digital conversations. Instead of talking on the phone, we send text messages. Instead of handwritten letters, we send emails. Through these and other messaging formats, we are able to talk to whomever, wherever, and whenever we want!

What are the ramifications of these forms of communication? Well, one might say that the constant stream of emails becomes mundane and strenuous – if you receive so many emails a day, the replies might become something of a hassle rather than something enjoyable (as letter and telegram composition and reception were in the past, something exciting and pleasing). Also, emails are completely devoid of any human quality – they are digital productions – and, therefore, tend to lose the personal touch. What does this say about our ideas concerning communication? How has the internet effected our abilities to connect with others?

Another issue that schools, in particular, are facing is the practicality of teaching handwriting. Reading, writing and arithmetic: this is the common basis of our education system in the United States. But, nowadays, how pragmatic is it for students to practice handwriting and cursive when typing has become more of a widely accepted skill. Schools around the country are having to decide whether or not to spend precious time and energy on a dying art.,0,7533627.story

What do you think? Has mass media and mass communication surpassed the need for such basic skills as handwriting? Should we spend our school’s dwindling budget money on things that can be done for us by a machine?

external image cursive-wjvri3.png

Works Cited:



Sara Anderson


Not being terribly passionate about art myself, it’s interesting to hear the controversy surrounding pop art. I tend to sympathize with the ideas presented by Lawrence Alloway, in that a new take on art that reaches a large population seems positive. If someone made it and calls it art that seems to be the definition, and I have no context to say otherwise. Generally when that happens, at least a few people like it. At that point there may be argument, and I honestly think that moment is when something is undeniably art.

The Tate Modern has provided my primary exposure to modern and pop art. I’m not certain I would have visited if I had not been on an international study trip, but the experience did expand my remarkably limited experience with the genre. Damien Hirst is of course the primary example that sticks in my mind, because his exhibits were so off the wall. I most enjoyed seeing my classmates initial reactions to the installment; many of them found the art rather disturbing. I didn’t have such a strong reaction because I felt too distanced from the disturbing aspects while I was walking through a museum.

Is it odd to say that Damien Hirst doesn’t look like I expected him to? I’m a little embarrassed that I suppose I expected him to be less able to blend into a crowd. I enjoy his assessment of his own work, because there isn’t much shameless self promoting. For work that inspires such a reaction from some people, he seems fairly nonchalant in the interviews I have seen. I find I like having my expectations completely toppled, and that may be why I vividly remember this artist. Personally and artistically, he has surprised me.

Another piece that I raised an eyebrow and shook my head at was Marcel Duchamp’s “Fountain”. Of course everyone could most likely say the same. I saw the replica, and for some reason seeing it in person brought into perspective the normality of the item. It seemed so out of place and small in a museum. Once again, the location and particularly the intention made it art. I value the experience in retrospect, but I remember being hungry and tired walking around with many complaining students discussing whether this was actually art. I found the conversation terribly irrelevant, because the wrong questions were being brought up. Say the items are art and begin discussion there, it seems more productive. However, the opportunity to express our variety of takes on the Tate Modern is not something I would begin to blow off, regardless of my individual perspective.

Arielle Orem- Week 7 Wiki
Art vs. Craft, Artist vs. Artisan

Something that stands out to me about Pop Artists such as Warhol and Rauschenberg is the use of “found” objects to make a statement about what should be considered “art.” One early artist who brought up this question was Marcel Duchamp in works such as “Fountain” (1917).
Duchamp uses “readymade” objects, such as the manufactured porcelain urinal in this work, to inspire audiences to view everyday objects in new ways and re-consider the encyclopedic term “art.” Warhol draws on Duchamp’s work by including not only found objects (as in Brillo, 1964 referenced in the readings) but also found images. For example, Warhol appropriated the familiar Campbell’s soup can to create one of his most well-known works. Duchamp and Warhol pushed the everyday object into the realm of art.

Once everday objects can also be understood as art, new questions spring up such as, “what is the distinction between art and craft?” and “who is an artist?” I would like to consider the example of quilts. The tradition of quilting as a craft is easily demonstrated in the living rooms of families across America. Quilts were used a method of secret communication during the American Civil War. The history of quilting as high art can also be traced to the pop art era in the 1950s-1970s. Many major museums, including the Whitney, Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery, and the Boston Center for the Arts. I am interested in the significance of this dual categorization and its implications on the idea of what is art and what is craft? Can an artist also be an artisan? Are all artisans also artists? What pushes a work toward one side of this binary? Are artists who use artisanal practices to create their work making a statement about the need in art historical communities to re-organize the structure of how art is studied to reflect a continuum rather than a binary between high and low art?