Vincent Lanier (1969), Manuel Barkan and Laura Chapman (1967), Laura Chapman (1982), Paul Duncum (1987, 1989), and Dan Nadaner (1985) have written about the implications of using mass media sources in art education. In their writings, each of these authors acknowledged the importance of film, television, and other mass media to student populations in art educational contexts. Even with these precedents and extensive literature in media studies, students today continue to uncritically consume the visual media that permeate their lives. They need to understand how contemporary culture is at least partially shaped by representations in visual media. Whether these representations are discovered in mass media, visual art, or a textbook, engaged criticism in which students question how power constructs "truth'" should become central to the art curriculum. To become aware and critical viewers, students must displace the common-sense belief that news, art, and other representations present a transparent reflection of what is "real." Students and teachers need to be educated to question control and definitions of reality in news media that increasingly have one foot in the entertainment industry and another in the systematic delivery of public information. Teachers should also seek to study contemporary artists and critics that enjoin us to examine ourselves and our institutions to acknowledge the complex of notions that reproduce oppression. In this paper, I will examine contemporary video artists and critics as potential models for student art making and written criticism.
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