Most of our expereince is visual. We obtain most of our information and knowledge through sight, whether from reading books and newspapers, from watching television or from quickly glimpsing road signs. Many of our judgements and decisions, concerning where we live, what we shall drive and sit on and what we wear, are based on what places, cars, furniture and clothes look like. Much of our entertainment and recreation is visual, whether we visit art galleries, cinemas or read comics. This book concerns that visual experience. Why do we have the visual experiences we have? Why do the buildings, cars, products and advertisements we see look the way they do? How are we to explain the existence of different styles of paintings, different types of cars and different genres of film? How are we to explain the existence of different visual cultures? This book begins to answer these questions by explaining visual experience in terms of visual culture. The strengths and weaknesses of traditional means of analysing and explaining visual culture are examined and assessed.
Using a wide range of historical and contemporary examples, it is argued that the groups which artists and designers form, the audiences and markets which they sell to, and the different social classes which are produced and reproduced by art and design are all part of the successful explanation and critical evaluation of visual culture.