Title page for ETD etd-04132013-151026

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Givens, Joseph R.
Author's Email Address givens@lsu.edu, josephrgivens@gmail.com
URN etd-04132013-151026
Title Lowbrow Art: The Unlikely Defender of Art History's Tradition
Degree Master of Arts (M.A.)
Department Art
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Spieth, Darius Committee Chair
Savage, Matt Committee Member
Zucker, Mark Committee Member
  • pop surrealism
  • underground comics
  • comix
  • comics
  • Zap
  • art history contemporary art
  • art
  • Lowbrow
  • Lowbrow Art
  • Robert
  • Williams
  • Robert Williams
  • Kustom Kulture
  • Mark Ryden
  • Ryden
  • Los Angeles Art
  • Copro Gallery
  • La Luz De Jesus
  • Cartoons
Date of Defense 2013-04-09
Availability unrestricted
This thesis has as twofold purpose. First, it will show that Lowbrow Art fits into the framework of art history and is worthy of art history’s attention. Second, it will argue for a revalidation of “traditional” art historical methods by proving that the methods are applicable to a marginalized contemporary art movement.

Lowbrow Art is one of the most distinctive and vibrant art movements in the world, but there has yet to be a thorough examination of this style. Despite the undeniable worldwide success of the Lowbrow Art movement, it remains relatively obscure in academic discourse. Perhaps one reason why art historians have yet to investigate the Lowbrow Art style is that, for decades, the field of art history has steadily been shifting attention away from matters of style. There is a lack of discourse about Lowbrow Art and other contemporary art movements. Therefore, “traditional” methods of art history were considered in order to develop a formal definition of Lowbrow Art.

The methods concluded that Lowbrow Art is figurative art executed in traditional media that exploits the aesthetic conventions of popular visual culture in order to engage the viewer with a narrative or implied narrative. The proper definition of Lowbrow Art formed the framework for a historical analysis of the movement.

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