Exploring visual culture through contemporary art practice: Making meaning and meaning making


Contemporary art practice provides for an artistic and critical approach to the current critical discourse surrounding mass media and popular culture. Theoretical interest in Visual Culture Art Education (VCAE) has been directed at writing over the hegemonic practices associated with aesthetic art education. Towards this end, the practice of art has shifted to the performance of moral critique of mass media and popular art. This paper will examine how VCAE, explored through contemporary art practices, provides a new form of media literacy created through a critical, artistic, and pedagogical approach to understanding and responding to imagery presented in mass media and popular culture. A way of knowing and meaning making, in and through discourse generated by viewing and producing art utilizing critical contemporary approaches will be addressed. This method moves beyond a moral critique of media and hegemonic cultural practices, towards a fuller, richer understanding and experience created by an artistic response. A review of literature will be used to examine trends associated with critique versus practice, identified by VCAE theorists. This paper will identify discourse surrounding contemporary art work and production as a means to meet the aims of both the visual cultural theorists while responding to the unique ways of understanding achieved through the critical viewing and production within a contemporary art framework.


Art and Design

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Journal Title

The International Journal of the Arts in Society: Annual Review