Bedfellows: Art and Visual Culture

New column! Introducing “Bedfellows”

Art21 is pleased to announce our latest column, Bedfellows: Art and Visual Culture, penned by guest blog alum Victoria Gannon.

Art and visual culture have not always been friends. When programs in the latter began to appear in art schools and universities in the 1990s, art historians were, on the whole, threatened by the sprawling interdisciplinary discipline whose objects of study include advertising and maps, landscapes and architecture, popular movies and other representations not considered art but rich with visual signification. Many believed visual culture, as a discipline, would rob the art object of its unique historical identity, reducing it to merely one more representation in a vast universe of cultural exchanges. Bedfellows: Art and Visual Culture makes no pretense of resolving this academic fissure, nor does it assert that art objects are the same as other forms of cultural production. But it does acknowledge that contemporary art and forms of visual culture often share cultural milieus and influences, and that by examining these forms of production side by side, we can learn more about their shared inspiration than if we considered them individually. In highlighting the similarities between art and visual culture, Bedfellows will ultimately reveal their distinctions and unique approaches to cultural phenomena.

Victoria Gannon was born and raised in Northern California, and she enjoys an ambivalent relationship with her home state. She currently spends her time writing and editing for Art Practical, an online journal covering Bay Area visual culture. She’s interested in art for its ability to embody abstract ideas; she enjoys writing about art for the challenge of translating those ideas into clear language. She earned a degree in English from Mt. Holyoke College, in South Hadley, Mass., and received a master’s degree in Visual and Critical Studies from California College of the Arts, in San Francisco.

Bedfellows publishes on the first Tuesday of the month.