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Lesson Plans

Re: Art & Deadlines

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Ben Schasfoort (Ben.Schasfoort)
Fri, 25 Apr 1997 11:37:46 +0200

How I enjoyed the fine reaction of henri (taylorh).
Here comes my view.
Rosa (and many others), you will not like it, because in my opinion your
students are not artists at all.

Seeing all those wonderful works children make, people often get the idea
that this is real art.
Is isn't.
How pretty, beautiful, fine, esthetical, expressive, technical perfect or
mature it may look, it is not art.
At least not in my opinion.
That asks for explanation.
It is often said that children yet use the same means and materials which
artists use, that they picture the same subjects, that they solve the same
problems and that their work pleases us as the work of artists (sometimes
even more). This statement however is not correct. It is just the other way
around. Artists use the same means and materials ...(etc.) which children
use, which students use at school, which each of us uses, since in daily
life we use the language of visual images to say what we have to say, to
show each other what to do, to express our thoughts. The use of visual
images is very common. We write that language and we read what is written by
others. Good "art education" is about the use of visual images in the world,
in cultures, in daily life, in time. This is exactly the best argument for a
strong place and a continual line for art education at school (although
there are more arguments).
Sometimes we call it art what people make, but why? because it meets
requirements of quality? If that would be the case, would we have an easy
job? Would it be enough to list those quality arguments and cross them of?
People tried, but it did not work. Can you tell me what are the qualities of
a black square? Malevitz painted a black square in 1913 and it is now a
famous piece of art. However, if you paint a black square it is probably
not art, unless...
Unless you are an artist and say that this black square, painted by you, is
art. Although it is not a very original piece of art, I would agree.
I propose to call art that what the artist makes and only if he says it is
art. That solves a lot of problems and saves us so many hours of discussion.
Does it (in most cases) really matter if a work is art or not? It doesn't.
What matters is how a visual image affects the mind of the one who sees it.
In good art education, understanding a visual image (art or not) and
discussing the influece it has on people are the main goals. The making of
visual images is to stipulate as a condition for understanding.
Some children and young people are lucky, they have good art education. It
is the responsibility of all of us to make this possible for all children.

I agree, there is another point of discussion now: who is an artist?
The one who makes a profession out of it.
If you like his work or not.

Ben Schasfoort
e-mail: ben.schasfoort
Tel. and fax: (+31) 597 55 15 03