Graduation Year


Graduation Month


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Fine Arts

School or Department

School of Art



Faculty Mentor

Elizabeth Dove

Faculty Mentor Department

School of Art

Faculty Reader(s)

Elizabeth Dove


Contemporary Art, New Media, Participatory Art, Conceptual Art, Video Art

Subject Categories

Fine Arts | Interactive Arts | Interdisciplinary Arts and Media | Other Film and Media Studies



Workman, Michael, B.F.A., May 2015 Art


Faculty Mentor: Elizabeth Dove

This is not a trend is a multi-media art installation that examines the valuation system of contemporary art by creating an absurd situation that mimics a real commercial experience. The manner in which value is placed on art is artificial. Both the monetary and intellectual value of art is decided mostly on the reputation of the artist, their fame, and how well their work is marketed to the public. These characteristics are marketed to art consumers in order to sell them an authentic “art” experience. They are being sold the idea that they can be in the presence of genius; whether the art speaks to them or not is irrelevant, anything the artist touches becomes precious and valuable. Art making then becomes more about celebrity than thought. I am interested in analyzing the idea that an artwork’s value is directly attributed to who the artist is and how well they have established their genius.

I address these concerns by creating a multimedia art experience that utilizes these marketing tactics in order to sell the viewer my unique touch as a commercial product. I distill the touch into its most basic and literal form, the finger, in order to disingenuously suggest that all artistic value resides within the unique touch of the finger. Each finger is a plastic resin cast of my right index finger. They are sold for $1.00 out of a vending machine. The unique value of my artistic touch is dismantled through its overt replication and sale. An infomercial manipulates the viewer into buying this product. While a series of art works with fingers mounted highlight the disconnect between the stated goals of some contemporary art and its relative ineffectiveness at commenting on complex social issues. By employing the same tactics used by advertisers I attempt to ultimately sell my touch as a useless consumer product, meant to be bought and tossed aside.

Honors College Research Project




© Copyright 2015 Michael T. Workman