Date of Award
Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Visual Art
“Re-Enchanting the Spectacle” explores guiding notions and central themes within the art practice of Shayna Cohn. Cohn’s installation spaces and sculptures within them, evoke a type of fabricated aura and melodramatic attitude of entertainment sites. By isolating the affect outside of the original environment, Cohn references the perceptual duality of entertainment sites within this “post-sacred” era. Entertainment venues become sites of potential transcendence, yet are also inextricably tied to their automated mechanization. Drawing on the Peter Brooks’ analysis of the historical and poetic relationship between melodrama and the sacred, Cohn argues that contemporary notions of melodrama can be found within the perception of the mechanization of the spectacle and modes of participation. Highlighting the cultural and social impact of The Club Kids, dance culture, drag queens and gimmicks, and illustrated through other artists’ work such as Wolfgang Tillmans and Nike Savvas, Cohn charts how the affective similarities in casinos, arcades, malls and dance halls gives shape to melodrama’s attempts to recapture the lost sacred while simultaneously mourning its loss.
Program Director's Department
Graduate School of Art
Cohn, Shayna, "RE-ENCHANTING THE SPECTACLE" (2014). Graduate School of Art Theses. ETD 24. https://doi.org/10.7936/K7NP22CJ.