How we live now: The place of class and taste in contemporary Australian art
AffiliationSchool of Art
Document TypePhD thesis
Access StatusOpen Access
© 2018 Dr Stieg Persson
This practice led research has explored the various ways taste (with its implicit relationship to class) has manifest itself as a type of cultural marker, sending a series of complex and coded messages to its audience. With a focus on a local, Australian contemporary and historical culture, the research exerts that the talismans of 21st century taste inhabit a psychic space, a complex matrix of subliminal and latent cultural ideas, implicitly understood by both artist/producers and their audiences/consumers. Themes and motifs present in the paintings are examined and hypothesised as exemplifying this condition, simultaneously offering the superficial comfort of naïve recognition and a deep,reflective cultural discourse. The research finds that a middle–class hegemony permeates not only the fields of reception and production, but unlike other creative disciplines in Australia, the visual arts are reluctant to engage directly with these issues. It also finds that the process of aestheticisation, once the domain of the creative arts is now embodied in all aspects of middle–class culture, best seen through its hagiographic treatment of food and foodism.
Keywordspainting; social class; middle class; foodism
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