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Event Detail

Master of Arts in Visual and Critical Studies 2018 Graduate Forum

May 3, 2018 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm
Location: Room 217, Woodbridge N. Ferris Building

The Master of Arts in Visual and Critical Studies Program presents its annual Graduate Forum, showcasing the thesis research of graduating students. Each student will present for 20-30 minutes, followed by a public Q&A. Light refreshments will follow the presentations.


Kevin Buist: “The Power to Show Nothing: Understanding dOCUMENTA (13) Through Three Failures”
Large recurring art exhibitions leverage considerable power to shape the discourse surrounding contemporary art. To examine the nature, limit and function of this power, Buist’s presentation will consider three artworks planned for dOCUMENTA (13) and the curatorial decisions made by Artistic Director Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev. dOCUMENTA (13) was the 2012 iteration of Documenta, a major contemporary art survey exhibition that takes place every five years in Kassel, Germany.

Three failed elements of dOCUMENTA (13)—artist Kai Althoff’s letter of withdrawal from the exhibition, the unsuccessful transportation of the meteorite “El Chaco” from Argentina to Germany, and the attempt by Christov-Bakargiev to censor sculptor Stephan Balkenhol’s "Man in the Tower"—will provide ways of considering the character and limits of the power wielded by curators and art institutions.

Rusted metal sculpture encircled by wooden fence in front of trees and blue sky image courtesy of Guillermo Faivovich and Nicolás Goldberg

Kelley Elzinga: “The Cultural Impact of Gender Fluid Imagery in Cosmetics Advertising”
This presentation will analyze images from a marketing campaign by the cosmetics company Anastasia Beverly Hills that featured social media celebrity and beauty guru, Patrick Starrr. Drawing on Judith Butler’s theory of the performance of gender, Elzinga analyzes these images of Starrr, a gay male model who markets cosmetics in the guise of feminine personas, as evidence of the shifting cultural attitudes toward gender boundaries.

Model wearing brightly colored cosmetics image courtesy of Anastasia Beverly Hills

Ashley Paige Young: “The New Super Woman: The Representation of Female Bodybuilding in Mass Media, 1986 – 1990”
The muscular female made its way into American popular culture as an ideal body type starting in the late 1980s. Young will examine the shift from a thin female body type of the 1970s to a stronger, more masculinized female body in three specific case studies: the film "Pumping Iron II;" photographs for the magazine Cosmopolitan, and images of 1980s popular music icon, Madonna. She will analyze the representation of the muscular female in these case studies using the theories of Judith Butler, Susan Bordo, Pierre Bourdieu and Alan Klein.

two female body builders standing on a stage
image courtesy of White Mountain Films
Individuals with disabilities who require special accommodations to participate should contact The Fed Galleries @ KCAD at 616.451.2787 at least 72 hours in advance.