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Aesthetics, Popular Visual Culture, and Designer Capitalism

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Abstract

While rejecting modernist philosophical aesthetics, the author argues for the use in art education of a current, ordinary-language definition of aesthetics as visual appearance and effect, and its widespread use in many diverse cultural sites is demonstrated. Employing such a site-specific use of aesthetics enables art education to more clearly address the realities of everyday life under designer capitalism, a socio-economy based on the drive to create evermore desire. Aesthetic manipulation is viewed as a primary means to facilitate the smooth operation of this system. The recent craze for Bratz dolls is used to illustrate the centrality of aesthetics to designer capitalism. Finally, the author offers suggestions as to how art education can view consumer products like Bratz as pedagogic opportunities.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Professor of Art Education in the School of Art and Design, University of Illinois

Publication date: 2007-10-01

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