In this study I examine the major factors that lead to museum-goers’ reactions to political works of art. Why do some people react to a work of art while others do not, how do works create discomfort in its viewer and what went wrong if they fall short of producing a reaction? Political art is defined by its political content and its involvement of the public, so then the audience plays an important role in its politicization? What role are the viewers taking on within the context of the artwork’s exhibition, artistic intent, art historic background, general demographics, and the society? The politicization of art is an intersection of the context of the social world the art is being exhibited in and the cultural conditioning and person-specific characteristics of the person viewing the work. Main factors that impacted the reception of political art by a viewer can be divided into previous involvement with and exposure to the arts and identification with a marginalized population.

Type of Work


Department or Program



Hamilton College


Bachelor of Arts

Date of Graduation


Faculty Advisor

Stephen J. Ellingson

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

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Sociology Commons