Date of Award

Spring 4-13-2018

Document Type

Distinction Paper

Degree Name

Art with Studio Concentration-BA




Louise Captein

First Committee Member

Amy Johnson, Ph.D.

Second Committee Member

Louise Captein, MFA

Third Committee Member

Jim Bowling, MFA


contemporary art, violence, graphic, visual

Subject Categories

Arts and Humanities


My Distinction Thesis essay considers how the bodies of works of contemporary visual artists Judy Chicago, Marc Quinn, Kara Walker, and myself could be considered violent and/or graphic. Each artist works in a different medium, bringing their own unique perspective to these illustrations. When analyzing these artists, I found it imperative to consider the aestheticization of violent visual art, and how these artists challenge our traditional idea of what ‘fine art’ is. Particularly, what draws the viewer to look at this art and consider it beautiful or ugly? Also, having a clear definition of what violent and/or graphic art is helpful when making analyses or comparisons between these artists. In this thesis, I have included my personal views as an artist and a scholar, as well as discussion of my own artwork. I reflected on my own opinions and inferences, along with research from various scholars in the art historical field, to develop my conclusion. Since this is a complex topic that can further be expounded, I plan to continue this research in my graduate studies at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.