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Controversies about Public Contemporary Art: An Opportunity for Studying Viewer Responses

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Controversies about Public Contemporary Art: An Opportunity for Studying Viewer Responses

Lachapelle, Richard (2003) Controversies about Public Contemporary Art: An Opportunity for Studying Viewer Responses. Canadian Review of Art Education, 30 (2). pp. 65-92.

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Abstract

Unlike other types of public art, works of public contemporary art are often the subject of controversy. This paper examines two examples of public contemporary art: one controversial (A & B associés, Transformer Site, 1982), the other not: (John Ceprano's Ottawa River stone Sculptures, 1987). To understand the developments that led to these different outcomes, the two case studies are examined using three different approaches. First, by presenting various viewers' points of view as expressed in newspaper articles and letters to the editor, the author explores public opinions about A & B associés Transformer Site (1982) in terms of the social class aesthetics of French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu (1980). Second, the author examines how additional factors, such as education and viewing experience, also shed light on viewer reactions to works of public contemporary art. Third, consideration is given to the role of the media in influencing public opinion about the two art projects. The author argues that, in the case of John Ceprano's stone sculptures on the shores of the Ottawa River, the media's coverage of the production of these works is an example of art education on a massive scale. The article concludes with a discussion of Vincent Lanier's (1987)argument that freedom of aesthetic choice can only truly exist when viewers have informed access to works of art.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Fine Arts > Art Education
Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Authors:Lachapelle, Richard
Journal or Publication:Canadian Review of Art Education
Date:2003
ID Code:976875
Deposited By: ANDREA MURRAY
Deposited On:12 Feb 2013 18:03
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:43
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