Class Year




Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (BA)

Department or Program

Art & Art History

First Advisor

Ann Roberts

Second Advisor

Miguel de Baca

Third Advisor

C. Todd Beer


In the realm of contemporary art, social concerns and political debate can often impact the public response to art. Determining the cultural value of these works is not an easy task. It is built from a combination of institutional validation and audience response which work together to classify art works as ‘Art,’ and determine the degree to which they impact the art world and society at large. By investigating the specific cases of Robert Mapplethorpe and Jo Spence, the author will analyze how these groups have previously interacted, and argue for a balance between these groups in the classification of Art.



Figure 2.1.jpg (412 kB)
Robert Mapplethorpe, Bulls Eye

Figure 2.2.jpg (100 kB)
Jo Spence, Property of Jo Spence?

Figure 2.3.jpg (126 kB)
Richard Serra, Tilted Arc

Figure 2.4.jpg (480 kB)
Maya Lin, Vietnam Veteran's Memorial

Figure 2.5.jpg (232 kB)
Andres Serrano, Piss Christ

Figure 3.1.jpg (92 kB)
Robert Mapplethorpe, Rosie

Figure 3.2.jpg (1050 kB)
Robert Mapplethorpe, Self Portrait (with a Bullwhip)

Figure 3.3.jpg (151 kB)
Robert Mapplethorpe, Jim and Top Sausalito

Figure 4.1.jpg (915 kB)
Jo Spence, Adventure Playgrounds

Figure 4.2.jpg (141 kB)
Jo Spence, Colonization

Figure 4.3.jpg (144 kB)
Jo Spence, Entering a New World

Figure 4.4.jpg (148 kB)
Jo Spence and Terry Dennett, How do I Begin to Take Responsibility?

Figure 4.5.jpg (145 kB)
Jo Spence and Dr. Tim Sheard, Greedy

Figure 4.6.jpg (28 kB)
Jo Spence and Dr. Tim Sheard, Included