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Unit Paper#2: Power

Visual culture gives artists the power to give all viewers a new point of view based on a

social and political agenda(Hurwitz and Day, page 80). Through the artwork, denoted

messages are generally messages when you get a glance; whereas a connotation message is

when attention is more focused on the details speaking out the real message. As Barrett(2003)

has stated, everything is coded and in need of interpretation(p. 5). Visual culture is a way of

persuading the viewers into possibly buying a product or trying something new and that is a lot

of power. Artists know what viewers are into and look for and with that kind of power, they can

do a lot. Visual culture without a message is a way of saying: we buy things for no

reasons(Barrett 2003). With their message, we purchase or go after it because its said to be the

greatest and life changing so why not get it. Yet if it doesnt work for us, artists are still winning

from profits they make from us.

With my third or fourth graders, really thinking about it Im not sure if I would teach power

through art but then again I feel like I may unintentionally. Only because art always has a

connotation message in them. However, if I do teach high schoolers I would definitely show that

video we saw in class to them. It would help inform them about their own world but through art

and not lectures which I think is pretty cool. I would also have them analyze magazines or their

favorite artists work to see if they can find the connotation message and just not the denoted

message so they get a gist of what their artists are trying to tell them and/us. Everything has a

message and its up to us on how we interpret it, whether we take action or not.

Barrett, T. (2003). Interpreting visual culture. Art Education, 56(2), 6-12.

Hurwitz, A., & Day, M. (2007). Children and their art: Methods for the elementary school, (8th

ed.). Thompson Wadsworth