Publication Date


Date of Final Oral Examination (Defense)


Type of Culminating Activity


Degree Title

Master of Fine Arts, Visual Arts



Major Advisor

John Francis, M.S.


Anika Smulovitz, M.F.A.


Craig Peariso, Ph.D.


The written portion of this thesis is designed to accompany the visual portion of this thesis as a didactic product catalog. The written portion of this thesis links consumer experiences to the upholding of a hierarchical definition of human identity that promotes the exceptionalism of specific human individuals over nature (as a broad category and property of things) in order to justify its exploitation.

Citing Foucault’s writings on biopower, the early development of the scientific method, the development of consumer culture during the turn of the 20th century, and contemporary examples of consumer culture, I will argue that global consumerism is effective in promoting human exceptionalism at the expense of widespread exploitation (of animals, vegetables, and minerals) because it separates production from consumption and therefore allows products to take on ideological, identity building characteristics that have nothing to with the actual properties of the products.

I will conclude that the concept of nature is an ideological tool used to justify the exploitation of everything ‘other’ by specific privileged human individuals and will cite contemporary artists in order to argue that because contemporary consumer culture is the visual culture of the status quo art can be an effective critical tool in counteracting the ideological effects of contemporary consumer/producer culture.

Included in

Fine Arts Commons