Presentation Title

From Consumer to User: Illicit Drugs in Postmodern Art

Abstract

This undergraduate thesis assesses the overlapping trajectories of drug consumption and postmodern art in Western culture since World War Two. The relationship between these two histories reveals the complex ways in which class operates under a capitalist society dominated by evolving consumerism. Using specific artworks as case studies for roughly each decade since 1960, this paper builds upon previous scholarship conducted in the field of contemporary art, extending its purview to the territory of drug consumption. From pop art’s appropriation of commodity goods to recent protest demonstrations at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, this thesis will be the first scholastic articulation of a subculture of illicit drug consumption under the structure of capitalism through the study of postmodern art.

This thesis will also incorporate research gathered from the archives at the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, for which I have received APLE Award funding from the University.

Primary Faculty Mentor Name

Anthony Grudin

Status

Undergraduate

Student College

College of Arts and Sciences

Program/Major

Art History

Primary Research Category

Arts & Humanities

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From Consumer to User: Illicit Drugs in Postmodern Art

This undergraduate thesis assesses the overlapping trajectories of drug consumption and postmodern art in Western culture since World War Two. The relationship between these two histories reveals the complex ways in which class operates under a capitalist society dominated by evolving consumerism. Using specific artworks as case studies for roughly each decade since 1960, this paper builds upon previous scholarship conducted in the field of contemporary art, extending its purview to the territory of drug consumption. From pop art’s appropriation of commodity goods to recent protest demonstrations at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, this thesis will be the first scholastic articulation of a subculture of illicit drug consumption under the structure of capitalism through the study of postmodern art.

This thesis will also incorporate research gathered from the archives at the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, for which I have received APLE Award funding from the University.