Date of Award
Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Visual Art
As intellectuals, artists must actively challenge societal power structures and the accepted way of thinking. Unless authority is questioned and discussed by the masses, the perception of power can segue almost seamlessly into actual power. It is the responsibility of the artist to disrupt these ingrained social systems through the work they create. According to Pablo Helguera, there are two different kinds of socially engaged artwork: the symbolic and the actual. While symbolic artwork focuses more on poetics and connecting with the audience, actual artwork emphasizes the functionality and applicable nature of the art. It is vitally important to blend these two forms of artistic practice. The symbolic form engages the public and evokes a response, while the actual form directs that response towards the physical fulfillment of social needs. There are a number of strategies and methodologies that I engage to address these social travails: context, dissemination, art as a media device, collaboration and the unsanctioned. When creating my own artwork, I take these strategies into careful consideration to most successfully engage the public.
Program Director's Department
Graduate School of Art
Williams, Michael A., "Methodologies of the Creatively Maladjusted" (2015). Graduate School of Art Theses. ETD 33. https://doi.org/10.7936/K7T72FNR.