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: Who are Artists?

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
henry (taylorh)
Sun, 11 Feb 1996 11:04:44 -0700 (MST)

An EXCELLENT list craig!

On Sat, 10 Feb 1996, craig roland wrote:

"In my elementary art methods class . . . .students frequently complain
that they aren't "artists" and shouldn't be expected to act like "artists"
in class."

Sigh. For me craig, this is such a sad thing to hear. To me, it represents
a cultural "professionalization" of art with a consequent denial of
access to the lay public -- or at least a common belief that "real people
don't DO art!" Very disheartening to say the least.

It seems to me that that which is called "art" is a human propensity
aspects of which extend into every fascet of our lives. (tho largely
unrecognized today) If we choose to take care in our dress the same
aesthetic sensuality that occurs in art appears as well; when we "look"
at the candidates for president comparing and evaluating, seeking
a"goodness of fit" between the individual and the job; we perform both an
aesthetic and a critical task. Reframing perspectives, perceiving and
evaluating relationships, again seeking that "goodness of fit" (a kind of
formalist "beauty"), your entire list in fact reflects signficant and
perhaps (at least to my view) necessary components of an active and
functional life and not just something related to professional arts.

I wish I could single-handedly reframe art AS life -and- life AS art; per
Margaret Mead's citation of the Balinese. . . "We have no 'art'. What we
do, we do WITH art." (Or something along that line, I don't have the
quotation handy.) BUT, it would be impossible AND I, think, counter-
productive; I think we NEED oppositional perspectives, differing and
unique points of view. And so, I suppose I'll settle for trying to carve a
little space for a "art-as-life/life-as-art" community in the world and
try to support the more familiar contemporary perspectives wherever I can.

Finally, I would also choose to oppose the scient_istic_ and neo-Puritan
stream of discourse and its idolatry of "serious science": the belief in
the pure and absolute; in a solemn intellectual praxis. I am currently
reading _The Pluralist and Possibilist Aspect of the Scientific Enterprise_
by Arne Naess. Naess quotes physicist Feyerabend who quotes R.K. Merton
on the organization of science which (per Merton)

'. . . operates as a system of institutionalized vigilance . . .'


In a warlike community of this kind [science] proliferation will
certainly lead to tension and nastiness (and there exists a good
deal of nastiness in science, as well as in other critical
rationalistic enterprises) but there is no need to combine
proliferation with a war of all against all. All that is needed
is less moralism, /less seriousness/, less concern for [absolute or
final] truth, a vastly deflated 'professional conscience', A MORE

[CAPS emphasis is mine]

The arts retain a playful side but one that is currently somewhat under
critical fire from those professionals who desire a more serious respect
from the lay and scientific communities. Both perspectives have value I
think and while I choose to side with one, I respect the other. Again, we
NEED BOTH our Apollonian AND our Dionysian sides!

Again craig, an excellent list, a "keeper"! Think there is room for
"playfulness" there?


> Along this line, I present the following list (with slides) to
> illustrate what this means.
> Learning how to think like an artist means learning how to:
> * reframe problems and ideas in order to generate new perspectives.
> * find relationships between different ideas and events.
> * find beauty in everyday things and situations.
> * arrange things in different and interesting ways.
> * go beyond the obvious and avoid habitual thinking.
> * work hard and at the edge of your potential.
> * take conceptual risks and expose yourself to possible failure.
> * persist where others may give up.
> * dream and fantasize.
> * rely on yourself rather than others to judge the worth of your ideas and work.
> * suspend judgement so that all possibilities might be considered.
> * do something simply because it's interesting and personally challenging to do.
> * drop unproductive ideas and temporarily set aside stubborn problems.
> * concentrate your effort and attention for long periods of time.
> I'm sure that that there are other thinking skills and dispositions
> involved in the act of artistic creation. But, these seem to cover much of
> the territory.
> Craig Roland
> University of Florida
> ~ Art is one of the few things left worth doing ~
> <author unknown>