Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Thesis




Art History

First Advisor

Andrew Graciano


This paper will evaluate the value of bad art, calling into question the function of aesthetic experience as defined philosophically, psycho-socially and ethically. We shall find that bad art serves an important artistic and aesthetic, social and economic role in our globalized modern culture. We shall also find the exponential growth of bad art as a symptom of the modernist myth of progress and commercial determinism, wherein 'the market' and methods of display exert an unprecedented influence on art production and art reception. Additionally, similarities will come to light between the art of our time and that of other post-industrial eras of decline, revealing the hidden neurosis of the modern individual. Ultimately, we shall prove that bad art, as interpreted by Odd Nerdrum, fulfills art's oldest function, providing us with a dramatized view of ourselves which reveals our alienation from nature, our bodies and our history.