Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The autonomy of art and the chimera of identity: Adorno, Madonna and feminist performance art
by Crahen, Stephanie K., M.A., California State University, Long Beach, 2009, 88; 1466095
Abstract (Summary)

This thesis analyzes Madonna's Confessions World Tour in terms of the debates surrounding feminist performance art. Many criticize Madonna as a highly commercialized artist whose tasteless displays in fact confirm the phallogocentrism she claims to deconstruct. Yet, using theories of Theodor Adorno, Amelia Jones and others, I argue Madonna's artistry retains a critical autonomy vis-à-vis the social construction of gender. Thus her art is highly political. Adorno argues art work retains its autonomy from the social system when it deliberately unpacks monolithic categories which appear to be "closed" static systems. Jones maintains performance art in particular holds potential to unsettle gender categories in ways that do not perpetuate, but indeed unsettle, traditionally sexist notions. I argue the female body-on-display is not automatically co-opted by a phallogocentric system; instead, the female artist who uses her body to disrupt the status quo possesses potential to creatively rewrite meanings assigned her by culture.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Caputi, Mary
School: California State University, Long Beach
School Location: United States -- California
Source: MAI 47/05M, Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Cultural anthropology, Womens studies, Political science
Keywords: Adorno, Theodor W.
Publication Number: 1466095
ISBN: 9781109163650
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