Katja Beneke

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Visual Arts


Sky Glabush


Exploring the Visual Representation of Teen Idols investigates the meaning of North American teen idols and their depiction in mass media and contemporary art. Young celebrities and entertainers, especially those in the popular music industry and produced by the Disney Company, are regarded as teen idols. Considering P. David Marshall’s definition of teen celebrities as non-threatening commodities of consumer culture targeting a pre-adolescent and adolescent audience, I argue that on the contrary, the visual representation of idols is overtly sexualized and exploited as in the case of Disney’s current idol Miley Cyrus. Looking at the art work of Takashi Murakami and Steven Shearer, I argue that the teen idol is subject to redefinition and constructive critique if put into the realm of fine arts. This investigation also informs a brief discussion of my own art practice which incorporates imagery surrounding teen celebrities.



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