More Than Meets the Eye: Adult Education for Critical Consciousness in Luis Camnitzer's Art

Open Access
Zorrilla, Ana Carlina
Graduate Program:
Adult Education
Doctor of Education
Document Type:
Date of Defense:
February 09, 2012
Committee Members:
  • Elizabeth Jean Tisdell, Dissertation Advisor/Co-Advisor
  • Ilhan Kucukaydin, Committee Member
  • Peter Jones Kareithi, Committee Member
  • Robin Veder, Special Member
  • Fred Michael Schied, Special Member
  • adult education for critical consciousness
  • critical public pedagogy
  • Luis Camnitzer
  • Stuart Hall
  • systems of representation
  • art
The purpose of this study was to explore the connection between art and adult education for critical consciousness through the conceptual art of Luis Camnitzer. The theoretical framework grounding this research was critical public pedagogy, influenced by both critical theory and Stuart Hall’s systems of representation (1997). This framework attempts to understand the learning and unlearning that takes place through various texts and in public venues. The study aimed to further understand adult education for critical consciousness through art as evidenced in the work of Camnitzer. There is limited literature on critical public pedagogy because it is a nascent branch in the adult education field. For data collection, this qualitative research study used interviews with conceptual artist Luis Camnitzer and with others familiar with his work as well as textual analysis of his work. The findings of the study indicated that Camnitzer exemplifies the connection between art and adult education for critical consciousness. First, his work encourages interaction and critique of ideas and social conditions of society, and he hopes that his art will help re-present reality in ways that the audience may not have expected. Secondly, it promotes exploration of the relation between art and politics, and art as a communicator and mediator of culture. Third, Camnitzer uses a variety of media to foment challenges to the status quo while also involving the audience in a unique role of co-creator of meaning. It is in this role that the audience awakens to a social responsibility drowned out by the conventionalities of the structures. All of these are hallmarks of critical consciousness and adult education. The final portion of the study considered the implications for theory, research and practice.