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Pollack for bad boys (to the student teachers)


From: Patricia Knott (pknott_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Sun Aug 31 2003 - 11:30:48 PDT

I welcome the student teachers to this list. You will soon see that we are
all "students." And the opportunity to bounce back and forth ideas and
philosophies is what makes this list so attractive and viable. Sometimes the
thoughts are mundane, sometimes profound, sometimes we hurt each others
feelings but most of all it remains a place to discuss.

I am writing today especially to the student teacher that suggested Pollack.
My question is
"what is the objective?"
I find certain artists so "special" in their achievement that what they did
is very difficult to convey or duplicate in a lesson. Often it doesn't even
become mimicry. Pollack came from a place, found his own place and was onto
another place before he killed himself. To me, the evolution of Pollack is
what he is about. No appreciation of Pollack can be achieved without seeing
an actual painting. The intricacies of the webbing of and depth of color
never comes across in a reproduction. And I think what Judy pointed out
about what influenced him is very important.

I often think I see "in the style of" lessons that do a disservice to the
artists' intentions. I'm trying to help the new teachers to really pay
attention to the objective. What is it you want them to learn? The
activity is the means to the objective. Kids throwing paint on to a surface
is meaningless unless they understand the development of the form within the
context of the history. Otherwise slapping paint onto the surface only
perpetuates the myth that anybody can do this and the meaning and history is

Please don't think I'm being critical. I'm trying to teach. I look at a lot
of lessons that come across this list. Too often the objectives are the
activity and not the comprehension of a level of achievement. What did
Pollack do that you want the kids to know?

I really value you, the brave student teacher that chimed into this list--
keep coming with your ideas. You will get lots of help here. We want you to
be the best art teacher.
I will always be here to make you think.