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Volume 2, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 2040-3704
  • E-ISSN: 2040-3712



Using American populist landscape artist Bob Ross as a case study, I examine how participatory culture can challenge elitist notions of 'high art'. Traditionally, the act of consecrating the artist and her work has been a polarizing, marginalizing 'private' performance that privileges a powerful cadre of 'taste makers' at the exclusion of the masses. Through the evaluation of a body of work on YouTube by amateurs who seek to replicate and parody Ross' thematic ideological and instructional messages, I suggest that this type of amateur production offers an alternate, oppositional read of Ross and provides him with a posthumous success that negates the elitist criticism that otherwise dismisses his work as trite and transparent.


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