Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Fine Arts


Visual Arts


Kim Moodie


In this paper, some possible productive relationships between theory, art making, and activism are considered. Certain theoretical works of Theodor Adorno, Herbert Marcuse, Jacques Ranciere, Michel de Certeau and Gerald Rauning with a relationship to critical art practices are analyzed. These theoretical frameworks are used to investigate contemporary artworks by Taryn Simon, Thomas Hirschhorn, Alfredo Jaar, Michael Rakowitz, The Yes Men, Object Orange, WochenKlausur and Ultra-red. The study aims to find productive relationships between theory, activism, and art making, and also consider how best an activist art practice can engage with art institutions while still preserving a degree of criticality. No one particular relationship between theory and artmaking is found to be most suitable for a critical art practice. Rather, the theorists’ works, when considered in relation to the case studies, suggest specific, complementary modes of critical art practice, which could be used under particular circumstances or in hybrid forms.

Available for download on Monday, September 18, 2056

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