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"We live in a toxic world," asserts Suzi Gablik in The Reenchantment of Art, "not just environmentally but spiritually."(1) For Gablik, remediation lies in the paradigm of art as participation, whereby art making is redefined in terms of "social relatedness and ecological healing, so that artists will gravitate towards different activities, attitudes, and roles than those that operated under the aesthetics of modernism."(2) In Mapping the Terrain: New Genre Public Art, Suzanne Lacy terms such work new genre public art and characterizes it as "visual art that uses both traditional and nontraditional media to communicate and interact with a broad diversified audience about issues directly relevant to their lives."(3) Differentiating new genre public art from what has been called public art, Lacy distinguishes the former by the level of engagement shared by artist and audience, the propensity for attacking media boundaries, and the effective implementation of social strategies.
Theorists such as Henry Giroux have addressed similar concerns in education. The critical theories Giroux presents in Border Crossings: Cultural Workers and the Politics of Education, for example, question existing power structures and argue for the democratization of education through interdisciplinary endeavors. Art educators such as Ronald Neperud and Donald Krug likewise advocate a culturally responsive approach to education that emphasizes "community orientation, recognizes diversity as a force in the lives of people, and investigates the formation of interests, satisfaction, practices, and values in the construction of the maker's cultural identity."(4)
Reconceptualizing art education as cultural criticism is a social-based pedagogy that can be fostered by the inclusion of new genre public art into the studio curricula. Such instruction encourages …