SOCB51H3 Lecture Notes - Lecture 2: Nudity, The Province, Consumerism
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SOCB51 Lecture 1 Notes
Art is normative; norms share the same quality. Graffiti rests in the middle of norms.
Banksy – street art – kept his identity a secret. Norms-art-law connected to each other.
Exit through the Gift Shop Documentary
It was nominated for an academy award after it came out. People thought it was a hoax.
An investigative reporter was sent out and it turned out to be all true. Is Thierry an artist?
No, more of a marketer. The workers creating the art pieces were the artists. He got lucky
with having the right contacts, experience, timing and place. Banksy is part of the
evolution of street art. If Mr.Brainwash can be this successful, what does it say about
Banksy’s art? Banksy’s work sells for a lot of money. There must be some people upset
that this guy got an art exhibit ready quickly and it was successful even though he’s not
really an artist compared to these people who’ve done this their whole lives with little to
no success. Thierry ran the place like a huge vintage clothing store. Mass-produced
already made art and represented as something hip, age and old. A brilliant marketing
ploy. What’s Banksy’s saying by holding up and showing facile, shallow world of street
art or art in general? This documentary undercuts his own position as an artist. What is he
saying as he does that? Banksy is a classically trained artist as seen in his work.
Mr.Brainwash can be a lot of things, but he’s not an artist. Then what does that make
SOCB51 Lecture 2 Notes
Dismaland – Banksy’s Latest Art Exhibition. It was a temporary art project. The opposite
of Disneyland (evil version). Rude and abusive staff. Boats with fleeing migrants and
dead migrants in the water. The Cinderella picture also refers to Princess Diana.
What makes Banksy’s work interesting? Or have artistic value? Or subversive? All art is
normative but Banksy has a very normative character to it; not just in the content but in
the form of graffiti.
Norms are relative, dictating, instructing, directing, suggesting the proper way/valued
way/right way/encouraged way to look/think/act/appear.
Art is highly normative. Norms are required and are used to interpret what we perceive
art to be or features of art.
We understand visual representation, art and features of art through the predominate
norms in terms of how it makes sense to the world. Art itself relies and plays on those
norms. It’s a two way type of connection. Art that didn’t have any artistic value from 40-
50 years ago for whatever reason (style, form, how it was carried out or the person who
carried it out), overtime its status changes into something that has artful content. Like
how norms change.
A well-known piece from Banksy of Phan Thi Kim Phuc running from an attack but in
his piece, he’s between Mickey Mouse and Ronald McDonald. What gives this any type
of artistic quality? What are the norms being played with here? Art has emotional power,
effective power. Power comes from this question about icons. Icon of violence of war but
these other icons of mass consumerism, popular, commercial culture and the collision of
the two together.
Banksy hung it up in one of the galleries in London. It was only noticed because it fell
down after a day or so. Where do art and norms come together here? Questions about art
and emotional power and beauty and how relative it is, is the same as thinking about the
relative character of norms. What’s the meaning here? A KKK member being hanged in
this English setting. There were no KKK in England. The arbitrary meaning of how we
see things and make sense of things. We look at images that have artistic qualities and
think about their meaning. Same lens we use to understand norms. Norms that shape how
we see the world, understand the world and how the world acts toward us in terms of skin
colour, how we interact, our ideas, etc. To make norms more complicated and complex, is
its relationship with law.
Norms and law or norms and formal rules. Are all norms enforced by law? No. Do all
laws enforce norms? No. What laws don’t enforce norms? Speeding (norm law gap – an
uncomfortable zone where you may violate police discretion), marijuana (new
government to decriminalize and regulate it), sexual harassment (norm of workplace back
then ie.patting a woman’s butt for a good job; gender roles; hard to regulate), drunk
driving (people took chances but didn’t have the moral designation it has now), etc.
Graffiti is an aesthetic practice, which may or may not have some artistic content. It’s
also unlawful and criminal. Gray area between norms and law. In any given situation and
any given context, those boundaries move back forth and there’s more or less coverage.