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ARH 200: Theory & Criticism of Art & Design - Karimi

Theme: Consumerism and Taste

Ortiz Torres’s Impure Beauty is both an ordinary object and a unique sculpture (a lowrider lawnmower) that reflects the artist’s take on Chicano experiences based on his own experiences in Southern California. Using library resources, find an example of another artist who has used strategic modification of everyday objects in their work in a manner that you find interesting. What is successful (or unsuccessful) about this device? Next, take a photograph of an ordinary object used in daily life that you have transformed. How does the transformation of this object reflect your identity? How do you use your creativity to reverse or subvert the implications of the original product’s association with mass produced commodity culture? How would you describe your own practice and experience in relation to the work of Ortiz Torres, or the other artist(s) you have selected to concentrate on? Please remember ideas discussed, such as: appropriation, Marxism, Bordieu and taste, and kitsch.

First Steps


Baby turtle, animated gif, GIPHY, http://gph.is/2efn1yg.

  1. Look at the theme. Consider what you need to find from the library in order to complete the assignment. 
     
  2. Write down these words and ideas.
     
  3. Think about alternate words or phrases related to everyday objects, strategic modification, consumerism, taste, appropriation, Marxism, Bourdieu, and kitsch.
     
  4. Write down these words and ideas.
     
  5. Can you think of artists that do this?
     
  6. If so, write their name(s) down. Don't worry if you can't think of any just yet.
     
  7. Consider everything you have written down and try to come up with some keywords or phrases to use in your search.

Building Blocks


The Living, Mycellium Brick, 2014, molded mycellium, 4 x 17 x 7" (10.2 x 43.2 x 17.8 cm), Museum of Modern Art, New York, https://www.moma.org/collection/works/188561?.

Here are just some suggestions for resources I would use for the assignment and the approach I would take. Try it and make it your own!

Remember, researching is exploration, so be patient with the process. 

If you're doing this ahead of time and we don't have a book or access to the full article on the topic you want, you could always request it from Interlibrary Loan. See the tab above for more info!

Also, you can always just Google it. Use the smart web searching tips we talked about in class (remember, site:.edu or site:.gov? also think critically about why you might trust that source and who authored it), then search for the work you found via Google in the library resources above!