Date of Award

Fall 2014

Thesis Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Master of Liberal Studies


Dr. Susan Libby

Second Advisor

Dr. Ryan Musgrave

Third Advisor

Dr. Patricia Lancaster


Abstract: This thesis argues that the artists Swoon, Allora & Calzadilla, and Ai Weiwei rep-resent three approaches to contemporary art drawing on the traditions of street art, performance art, and conceptual art to change our expectations of art, public space, and civil disobedience, challenging the limits of what we know as social criticism and building community. These new and lively ways of making art can be viewed in association with systems of thought like Danto’s work which pro-poses a redefined way of looking at art; and Dewey’s work which emphasizes the importance of an aesthetic experience as a way of engaging the community. Art made in this way inspires the audience to look at things from a different perspective, provides an occasion for the community to unite, and encourages social change.

Rights Holder

Jessica Hasara