Advertising as Art and Ideology


Start Date






End Date


Meeting Day

Tuesdays and online



This online course features the following types of interaction:

  • Pre-recorded content
  • Live meetings

How might advertising be Art? How is it ideology?

In this asynchronous course, we will use concepts and critical thinking strategies to study advertising and public relations as organizers and drivers of our cultural ideology. This online seminar course will include two sessions each week: One session will be made up of asynchronous assignments on Thursdays to allow students preparation time to lead weekly discussions when we meet via live video conference on “Zoom” on Tuesdays. Google Classroom will be homework library.

We will interrogate words and images in advertisements that have provided our world with a new “grand narrative”, replacing religion and fine art as the “glue”that holds our culture together. Advertisements’ subtle influence of our thoughts and values will be examined. We will compare advertisements with works of fine art (including poetry) and consider the ways in which advertisement employs the methods and conventions of traditional art practices to influence consumers on psychological, biological, sensory, and cognitive levels.

We will also consider how IT and AI further complicate our relationship with advertisements where “addicted” users are bought and sold and where users’ behaviors are shaped for prediction futures profit. In an effort to create space to foster truly creative minds in a future, students will consider social justice issues including privacy in an era where “all conduct is economic conduct” (Wendy Brown, University of California, Berkeley) and “[o]nce I was mine; now I am theirs.” (Shoshana Zuboff, Charles Edward Wilson Professor Emerita, Harvard Business School).

This is an online class, that will meet on Zoom on Tuesday night.

This class will also use the Moodle platform. Students will follow a syllabus that includes the lectures, assignments, and deadlines.

The instructions and login credentials for accessing MassArt technology services will be sent to registered students.

This class has already begun.

Richard Murphy

Richard Murphy is a poet and educator who has taught writing and literature for more than 30 years. He is guest lecturer at Massachusetts College of Art and Design. His critical essays have appeared in The International Journal of the Humanities; Journal of Ecocriticism; Reconfigurations: A Journal for Poetics Poetry / Literature and Culture; and … Read more