Note: To protect the privacy of our members, e-mail addresses have been removed from the archived messages. As a result, some links may be broken.

Lesson Plans

RE: deKooning Dilema

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Mark Alexander (Alexander)mamjam)
Tue, 30 Apr 1996 08:31:47 -0500

I think the key to the deKooning Dilemma is your personal definition
of what art is. Does art have to be made by a person with a healthy mind?
If not, then are we to also exclude VanGogh's work as the product of a
demented person and therefore not art? Does art have to be made by a
person? Is Ruby the elephant an artist? Ruby lives and paints at the
Phoenix Zoo-do you know about Ruby? Her work is included in many many
important collections!
I happen to have a wide definition of what art is, but it varies as
necessary to include or exclude objects, images, and concepts I encounter
each day. What you might do is try to define art for yourself. Try to
write a collection of definitions. Actually this is a good aesthetics
exercise for the art classroom. You will notice quite quickly that there
isn't any one 'right' definition.
ARTNEWS published a great article last Fall about deKooning, and they
titled it 'The deKooning Dilemma.' You've read it? I think that the
author talked about alzheimers and how it effects different artists. For
example, a writer who gets alzheimers stops writing because the disease
hinders the ability to relate current thoughts with the past or future.
Painters, like deKooning, can paint with alzheimers because the past is
unavoidable as long as the artist faces the canvas. It all remains right
there in the painting as a constant reminder. Of course the afflicted
painter might need help finding the painting, but Ruby needs studio
assistants, too.
Another subject you mention is about the artistic value of deKooning's
smudged newspaper scraps. I suppose there is some kind of value, but is it
art? I collect all sorts of things, rusty cans, pebbles, twisted
sticks...I even have a torn scrap of a photograph that I found in an
artist's trash can years ago. It is quite a beautiful object, but is it
A good closure question might be: 'There are many artists represented
at the museum and people pay a lot of money for their art work. There are
many many more artists who are not represented at the museum and no one
ever buys their art work. Which artists make better art?'
Be sure to let us know how the paper turns out. I'd love to read it.

Mark Alexander
(Very soon to graduate) art education student at
Central Connecticut State University
mamjam(Mark Alexander)