This text provides an accessible critical introduction to a variety of different analytic strategies for understanding the range of objects (paintings, sculpture, adverts, furniture, textiles, photography, fashion, etc.) that make up visual culture. Beginning with a discussion of what understanding can be taken to mean in relation to visual culture, it devotes separate chapters to different approaches to its study, using carefully chosen examples to illustrate the strengths and weaknesses of these. The major figures associated with particular analytic strategies (Hebdige, Panofsky, Barthes, Wolff, etc.) are critically discussed throughout. Alternative, more advanced readings are also explored and crucial questions posed, such as 'Are we always, or ever, in control of our understanding?'
MALCOLM BARNARD is Senior Lecturer in the School of Art and Design at the University of Derby, where he teaches the history and theory of art and design. He holds a BA in Philosophy and Sociology and a PhD in Philosophy from the universities of York and Warwick, and his publications include Fashion as Communication and Art, Design and Visual Culture: An Introduction.
Introduction.- Understanding Visual Culture.- Explanation and Understanding: Visual Culture and Social Science.- Interpretation and the Individual.- Expression and Communication.- Feminism: Personal and Political.- Marxism and the Social History of Visual Culture.- Semiology, Iconology and Iconography.- Form and Style.- Conclusion.- Bibliography.