Dissertation Proposal:

The relationship between the artist and their audiences; focusing on the active and passive participation of the audience.

The thought of coming up with a dissertation title was extremely daunting, the constellation lectures that I had attended (“Expressing the unseen” and “The Absurd”) were extremely interesting, with a vast amount of potentially inspiring topics discussed. Although it wasn’t until a brief conversation with a family friend that I seriously considered the topic for my dissertation, after he remarked on the passionate way that I spoke about the dependant relationship of the artist, their artworks and audience. This symbiotic relationship fascinates me, as the three depend on one another to continue the evolution of the creative and aesthetic fashions of society but it could be argued that neither the artist or audience are completely aware or appreciative of the others role in the cultural development of society.

Once my research into the relationship of the artist and the audience had started I began to understand the vast nature ot the topic and so searched for themes so as to formulate a more reasonable sub-topic so as not to over complicate the paper. The sociology and philosophy writings that I initially  began to read formed a fantastic base for my research, as well as the museum and curatorial literature that better considered the audience’s perspective. From these my dissertation topic began to take shape, spurred on by themes in and suggestions made about my own work;

The continuous piece – Although this piece does not include the audience directly in any interactive form it does alter the natural order of the relationship in that it never finishes and so no two audiences see the piece in the same way. By never finishing the create process, or resolving the piece the question is then asked whether the audience must consider only its current appearance or consider the stages it took to get to its current appearance. Started last year, the piece now looks like this: current appearance of the continuous painting

As an abstract artist I find that is sometimes difficult to decide when a piece has reached its resolve, and so the idea of this piece was begun as a slight protest against the need to say that a piece is “finished”. Especially as I consider the pieces theoretically shouldn’t “finish” but instead continue through the varied interpretations and receptions of those who encounter it. As well as the ideas that might be formed in the artist’s mind, inspired to create future pieces after ending work on a particular piece.

Painting with thread (This piece will be summated in May as part of my subject project) – The idea behind this pieces is journeys either the physical or theoretical journeys that we all go on. It was suggested that instead of doing all the thread work myself I allowed the audience to continue the painting. Although this would allow a new interpretation for the piece, it is my currently my opinion that allowing an audience to interact with a piece sometimes stops them from taking the time to consider what the artist is really asking of the audience. If an artist is considering an audience from the beginning of the process onwards then the piece created will probably be a more interactive piece. However, if the audience is not considered until later, the shift towards interaction has the potential to complicate an artists intentions as well as dulling the audience reception, and in some cases pause the audience from engaging intellectually with the art works. 

Considering my own opinions regarding the proposed dissertation topic I began to create a mind map that brought together some of the initial discussions that I hoped to raise in the dissertation (Mindomo – dissertation mind map) when looking at the relationship of the artist and the audience as a whole.

As previously mentioned sociology/ philosophy and museum analysis of the relationship of the artist and audience will form the base structure for my dissertation. So far the following books and articles have been of significant interest are:

Although I have managed to collect together a variety of resources that are mentioned in more detail within the dissertation proposal. With the sources I was also able to find alternative opinions that will help me to write a balanced dissertation, which plans to collect together debates on the relationship of the artist and audience and hopefully bring a new perspective to the discussion.

The plan now is to continue developing my understanding of the subject that I have chosen to write on in order to be able to critically analyse my own, and others opinions on the increased inclusion of the audience on the creative process and how this might affect the relationship with the artist. I then need to section discussions into a structured format that allows for a coherent dissertation. I have already begun to notice that there are subtopics to consider in order to contextualise the dissertation better, but want to avoid simply summarising others ideas as I have found some books have done when faced with such a vast topic. I am aware that this dissertation has the potential to develop my own work, with a better understanding of one’s audience it is easier to express ideas with a more successful reception, as well as understanding that better the balance between including and excluding the audience so as to create the most intellectually stimulating experience for the audience. Ultimately this dissertation hopes to show how the art world must be adaptive; and with a fast paced technology engrossed society maybe participatory art is the next development in the relationship of artist and audience in an attempt to regain the attentions of the, arguably, distracted society.

Word count: 1001


1964–1970: Getting established » biography » Gerhard Richter. 2016. Available at: https://www.gerhard-richter.com/en/biography/19641970-getting-established-5 [Accessed: 2 May 2016].

Alberro, A. and Stimson, B. 1999. Conceptual art: A critical anthology. (s.l.): MIT Press. Available at: https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=sJGzxp1Q9fYC&pg=PT26&lpg=PT26&dq=conceptual+art+and+its+audience&source=bl&ots=fM3Zb-GJJs&sig=rZAmqlr9LsLiDaLfcBrqCxg-OKw&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj20-HB0OHLAhUBOhoKHYfqAvMQ6AEINTAE#v=onepage&q=conceptual%20art%20and%20its%20audience&f=false [Accessed: 27 March 2016].

Atlanta, A.F. of. 1998. Conversations at the castle: Changing audiences and contemporary art. Cambridge, Mass. u.a.: MIT Press

Baharin, H. and Morrison, A. [No date]. Eliciting audience’s experience to improve interactive art installation. (s.l.): (s.n.).

banksyfilm. 2010. Banksy’s exit through the gift shop [Online]. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a0b90YppquE [Accessed: 6 May 2016].

Baverstock, A. 2010. How to get a job in a museum or art gallery. London: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC

BBC. [No date]. What do artists do all day? [Online]. Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01rjr1d/episodes/guide [Accessed: 6 May 2016].

Becker, H.S. 1974. Art as collective action. American Sociological Review [Online] 39(6). Available at: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2094151?seq=1#fndtn-page_thumbnails_tab_contents [Accessed: 27 March 2016].

Belfiore, E. 2002. Art as a means of alleviating social exclusion: Does it really work? A critique of instrumental cultural policies and social impact studies in the UK. International Journal of Cultural Policy 8(1). (s.l.): Informa UK.

Bennett, C. 2015. Damien Hirst has brought public art to a new low [Online] The Guardian. Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2012/oct/21/damien-hirst-ilfracombe-public-sculpture [Accessed: 26 April 2016].

Bishop, C. 2006. Participation. London: Whitechapel

Bishop, C. 2012. Artificial hells: Participatory art and the politics of spectatorship. London: Verso

Boetzkes, A. 2010. The ethics of earth art. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press

Botha, K. et al. 2012. What really matters to the audience: Analysing the key factors contributing to arts festival ticket purchases. South African Theatre Journal 26(1). http://www.tandfonline.com.ezproxy.cardiffmet.ac.uk/doi/pdf/10.1080/10137548.2012.754080: Informa UK.

BYSTRYN, M. 1978. Art galleries as Gatekeepers: The case of the abstract expressionists. Social Research [Online] 45(2). Available at: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40970338?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents [Accessed: 2 May 2016].

Chan, V. 2011. A museum guide to Chan’s cabinet of curiosities (or your 15 minutes of fame). Konstfack University college of arts, crafts and design: (s.n.).

Cluley, R. 2012. Art words and Art Worlds: The methodological importance of language use in Howard S. Becker’s sociology of art and cultural production. Cultural Sociology [Online] 6(2). Available at: http://cus.sagepub.com.ezproxy.cardiffmet.ac.uk/content/6/2/201 [Accessed: 27 March 2016].

Cole, I. and Stanley, N. 2000. Beyond the museum: art, institutions, people.. Oxford: Museum of Modern Art, Oxford

Dannenberg, R.B. et al. 1995. LINKS [Online]. Available at: http://repository.cmu.edu/compsci/481/ [Accessed: 6 May 2016].

Davis, B. 2014. Diversify or die: Why the Art World needs to keep up with our changing society | Artinfo. COLUMNIST, COLUMNIST, 17 January 2014.

Dean, C. et al. 2010. Tate modern: Pushing the limits of regeneration. City, Culture and Society [Online] 1(2). Available at: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1877916610000111 [Accessed: 29 April 2016].

de Duve, T. 1996. Kant after Duchamp. London: Cambridge Mass, Mit Press

Duvignaud, J. and Wilson, T. 1972. The sociology of art. London: HarperCollins Distribution Services

Dyke, J.V. 1999. Art and place: The local connection. Arts Education Policy Review 100(3). (s.l.): Informa UK.

Easton, E.W. 2011. Museums in crisis?. Visual Resources 27(4). (s.l.): Informa UK.

Greenberg, R. et al. 1996. Thinking about exhibitions. New York: Routledge

Hamilton et al. 2014. Hamilton, southern & st Amand [Online]. Available at: http://www.satellitebureau.net/p8.php [Accessed: 6 May 2016].

Hanquinet, L. 2013. Mondrian as kitchen tiles? Artistic and cultural conceptions of art museum visitors in Belgium. Cultural Trends 22(1). (s.l.): Informa UK.

Holzer, J. 2007. Contemporary art in context [Online] https://www.facebook.com/art21. Available at: http://www.art21.org/teach/on-contemporary-art/contemporary-art-in-context [Accessed: 27 March 2016].

Honoré, V. [No date]. Carsten Höller: Interview [Online]. Available at: http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern/exhibition/unilever-series-carsten-holler-test-site/carsten-holler-interview [Accessed: 6 May 2016].

Inglis, D. and Hughson, J. eds. 2005. The sociology of art: Ways of seeing. Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan

Kent, S. 2016. Are audiences killing art and culture? [Online] The Guardian. Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/culture-professionals-network/culture-professionals-blog/2013/oct/25/are-arts-audiences-killing-culture [Accessed: 27 March 2016].

Kuspit, D. 1995. The cult of the avant-garde artist. Art Book, The 2(1). (s.l.): Wiley-Blackwell.

Livingston, P. 2007. Art and intention: A philosophical study. United Kingdom: Clarendon Press

MarkRothko. 1955. Mark Rothko biography [Online] Mark Rothko – paintings, prints, biography and quotes of Mark Rothko. Available at: http://www.markrothko.org/biography/ [Accessed: 2 May 2016].

MartensKatelyn ConceptualArtAndContemporaryAudience. 2007. Available at: http://kellysherman.net/images/MartensKatelyn-ConceptualArtAndContemporaryAudience.pdf [Accessed: 27 March 2016].

McClellan, A. ed. 2003. Art and its publics: Museum studies at the millennium. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing

Meyer-Hermann, E. et al. eds. 2008. Allan Kaprow – art as life. Los Angeles: Getty Research Institute

Meyer, H. 2009. Audience as participant in Performance Ar [Online]. Available at: http://www.performance-art-research.de/texts/audience-as-participant_helge-meyer.pdf [Accessed: 27 March 2016].

Morton, L. 2016. Marilyn Zurmuehlen working papers in Art Education theories and activities of conceptual artists: An aesthetic inquiry [Online] 2(1). Available at: http://ir.uiowa.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1031&context=mzwp [Accessed: 27 March 2016].

Nagawa, M. 2012. Beyond the gallery: interactions between audiences, artists, and their art through the kampala art tour 2007-210. Art Education 65(2). (s.l.): (s.n.).

Naylor, R.T. 2008. The underworld of art. Crime, Law and Social Change 50(4-5). (s.l.): Springer Science + Business Media.

New paradigms in aesthetics: The challenge of environmental art. 2006. (s.l.): ProQuest. Available at: https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=vu4Uc-b-RagC&pg=PA25&lpg=PA25&dq=environmental+art+and+its+audience&source=bl&ots=vW9FWOtHjz&sig=ZdBZ09Qjjc3KIS7Fs7uY18HYkss&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiz8Zu3z-HLAhXL6xoKHQ0ZBXUQ6AEINzAF#v=onepage&q=environmental%20art%20and%20its%20audience&f=false [Accessed: 27 March 2016].

Novitz, D. 2001. Participatory art and appreciative practice. Journal of aesthetics and art criticism 59(2). (s.l.): (s.n.).

Obrist, H.U. 2014. Ways of Curating. London: Penguin Books

Orrell, P. and Abramovic, M. 1946. Marina Abramović + the future of performance art. Munich: Prestel

Performing structure: Fine art as a prototype for participation. 2011. Available at: http://isea2011.sabanciuniv.edu/paper/performing-structure-fine-art-prototype-participation [Accessed: 21 April 2016].

Perricone, C. 1990. Artist and audience. The Journal of Value Inquiry 24(3). (s.l.): Springer Science + Business Media.

Petry, M. 2011. The art of not making: The new artist / artisan relationship. London: Thames & Hudson

Reynolds, F. and Lim, K.H. 2007. Turning to art as a positive way of living with cancer: A qualitative study of personal motives and contextual influences. The Journal of Positive Psychology 2(1). (s.l.): Informa UK.

Rinald, R.M. 2012. Art and the active audience: Participatory art changes audience role from viewer to doer [Online]. Available at: http://www.denverpost.com/ci_22288730/art-and-active-audience-participatory-art-changes-audience [Accessed: 27 March 2016].

Rockman, A. 1971. Four experiments in the sociology of aesthetics.. 2nd ed. Great Britain: Pergamon Press

Saito, M.W. 2008. When audience and artist become the artwork. (s.l.): (s.n.).

Schroeder, J.E. 2005. The artist and the brand. European Journal of Marketing 39(11/12). (s.l.): Emerald.

Searle, A. 2016. How performance art took over. The Guardian 14 January 2016.

simon, P. 2009. Gallery space recall. Cardiff: Chapter arts center

Smith, R.K. and Newman, G.E. 2014. When multiple creators are worse than on: The bias toward single authors in the evaluation of art. American Psychological Association [Online] 8(3). Available at: http://psycnet.apa.org/journals/aca/8/3/303/ [Accessed: 6 May 2016].

Society, C.A. and Gallery, W. eds. 2014. The best is not too good for you: New approaches to public collections in England. United Kingdom: Whitechapel Gallery

Stern, A. 2001. Deaper conversations with interactive art: Or why artists must program. Convergence 7(1). (s.l.): (s.n.).

Taylor, E.J.T. et al. 2012. Uncovering the connection between artist and audience: Viewing painted brushstrokes evokes corresponding action representations in the observer. Cognition [Online] 125(1). Available at: http://www.sciencedirect.com.ezproxy.cardiffmet.ac.uk/science/article/pii/S0010027712001321 [Accessed: 27 March 2016].

The art of conversation: The changing voice and role of the audience in galleries and art museums « claire antrobus. 2008. Available at: http://www.claireantrobus.com/2010/03/01/the-art-of-conversation-the-changing-voice-and-role-of-the-audience-in-galleries-and-art-museums/ [Accessed: 27 March 2016].

Wade, G. ed. 1999. Curating in the 21st century. Walsall: New Art Gallery Walsall

Walwin, J. 2010. Searching for art’s new Publics. Bristol: Intellect

Warhurst, M. 2014. Immersive art: Have audiences earned their place in the show? The Guardian 18 September 2014.

Weiner, L. 2016. Conceptual Art Movement, artists and Major Works [Online] The Art Story. Available at: http://www.theartstory.org/movement-conceptual-art.htm [Accessed: 27 March 2016].

Werner, B.L. et al. 2014. Measuring and understanding diversity is not so simple: How characteristics of personal identity can improve museum audience studies. Visitor Studies 17(2). (s.l.): Informa UK.

Wheeler, B. 1997. Ther performance of distance and the art of catharsis: perfomance art, artists and audience responce. The journal of arts managment, law and society 27(1). (s.l.): (s.n.).

Wolff, J. 1983. Aesthetics and the sociology of art. London: HarperCollins Publishers

Wolff, J. 1993. The social production of art. 2nd ed. Basingstoke: Macmillan Press Ltd

www, P. 2009. Pablo Picasso biography [Online]. Available at: http://www.pablopicasso.org/picasso-biography.jsp [Accessed: 2 May 2016].

Yetisen, A.K. et al. 2015. Art on the Nanoscale and beyond. Advanced Materials 28(9). (s.l.): Wiley-Blackwell.


Published by

Jessy Plant

A Brighton born artist, now studying a Fine Art Degree at Cardiff Met Uni.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s