The main takeaway I got from this passage, is about going against the grain--not conforming to already established ideas and/or principles--and finding oneself amongst the conflict. It's about discovering what makes one unique compared to the crowd, and the properties that go into helping emphasize it.
Personally, while I do agree that one's sense of individuality is an integral part of one's being, there is also something to be gained in contemplating conformity: conformity, amongst certain aspects, allows for more expression in other fields that would prove to be a better use of one's time, effort, and energy. By giving in to the most common of choices in one trivial matter, there is now more creativity and ingenuity being brought towards more interesting developments that one may prefer to further delve into, compared to the otherwise lesser, frivolous subjects or matters.
A Last Note:
I found the piece, "Scream" by Larry Brown (1989) to be the thing that stood out to me amongst the other works of art. It reminded me of an illustration one would see in a grimdark fairy or folk tale--like an illustration of the Wendigo. The jaggedly scrawled, charcoal-like design gives off a horror-esque appeal that complements the faded, worn-out thematic that further gives the impression that the piece is of a written or drawn design from a long time ago.
If this were not an assignment, would you have responded at all?