International Journal of Art & Design Education

Art at the Mall: A look at the Aesthetics of Popular Mall Art Culture

Volume 27.2   2008



Currently there is a scarcity of information in the art education literature about purchasing art. This article examines how art acquires economic and social value, as well as how consumers make decisions when purchasing a piece of art. Where does an art student or the general public learn about buying art? How much, if any of this process is happening in art class? There is an assumption art educators make, that raising some invisible standards of taste leads to greater awareness of art consumption. In this article, the author visits four mall stores to study the aesthetics of art purchase to discuss a number of implications for art teaching. Elitist views of the contemporary art world regarding popular culture and the purchase of art frame the debate. As art educators we ask art students to look at the world as critical consumers; this article then, offers practical approaches for classroom discussions surrounding the purchase of art.