william funk

Art History

Will Funk is an upcoming graduate from CU Denver with an art history major and philosophy minor. While his emphasis is on modern and contemporary art, his undergraduate studies have been focused on global art from all periods of art history. After graduation, Will is planning on applying to graduate programs that specialize in the curation of contemporary art and he would like to work for a major American museum on the East Coast.

For his BA Thesis, Will is researching the artistic practice of contemporary American artist Andrea Zittel. Additional subjects of interest include photography, Minimalism, Abstract Expressionism, and the emerging contemporary art of the Middle East.



Defying Categorization: The Art/Craft of Andrea Zittel

Art history has always been focused on ideas of categorization. One of the strongest areas of debate over the past century has been the line between what is considered fine art and what is defined as design. Some scholars see these as strongly opposed while others feel that the definition is fluid. Movements like the Arts and Crafts and Bauhaus challenged this categorization while proving that art and design can be one and the same. Regardless of the success of these movements, the debate centered around what is art and what is design continues today. The lines may have been blurred since the 1920s, but artists like Andrea Zittel are still challenging these categories and pushing the boundary of what art can be.

My research will analyze the practice of Zittel through her multimedia and multidisciplinary practice established in the early 1990s and still going strong today. Zittel’s work can be seen as part of the D.I.Y. movement, a rejection of consumerist culture, a philosophical approach to living, and a response to the art-world discussion around what fine art is. I will analyze Zittel’s practice through Bauhaus and later utopian theories, and in the process, show how her aesthetically pleasing work bridges the gap between functional design and fine art. I argue that Zittel’s work reveals practical and philosophical understandings of how we live today and as such, is one of the most important contemporary artists of her generation.