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


art, language, arrogance (was counseling and art)

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
henry (taylorh)
Sat, 17 Feb 1996 08:32:57 -0700 (MST)


>Date: Thu, 15 Feb 1996 17:05:29 -0800
>From: Mary Harris <mharris>
>
>I am so grateful for art being taught in public school. Art has such a
>personal way of allowing us to express who we are and what we stand for.

Art does many things Mary and personal expression is certainly one of art's
more popular aspects.

>Art is truly the only universal language of our world.

Now you may be getting just a tad "overly enthusiastic" here. :)
As for ONLY, our bretheren over in the communications dept wil no doubt
point to facial expressions and their own claim for "universality". A
line of as yet undetermined length will form to question us on this
assertion.

As for "universal"... Think about this. Institutional cooking (too many
cooks) has a universal reputation and quality. It is recognizable world
round. While it cam be quite nutritious, especially in hospitals,
generally, it seems to have "lost something in the translation"
especially when compared to regional, local, or ethnic fare

The art suffers similarly when translated into a universal communicator.
It looses "resolution" and detail in what is communicated. I would argue
that the more "universal" something becomes that the less effective it
becomes at the same time. Conversely then, the more individualized -- the
more powerful. As we do live in societal circumstances there is a need to
find an appropriate balance here in each situation. Watcha think?

>That PEOPLE are important and so are things of beauty is frequently missing
>in our hustle bustle society. Art offers so many therapeutic benefits that
>need to be encouraged for personal and societal growth.

Especially beauty in the "Humean" sense the sense of the 19th century
german aestheticians...

>Monet says "Everyday I discover more beautiful things" I believe that is a
>tremendous challenge for the 1990s and still very much accomplishable,
>especially through the eyes of an artist. You who teach art also radiate
>that importance by your enthusaim for art and the beauty of expressing
>BALANCE.

I very much agree.

Date: Fri, 16 Feb 1996 09:32:13 -0700 (MST)
From: Cathy Ruiz <cruiz>

In response to Mary Harris's comment about the universal laJFnguage of
art......I disagree that art is a universal language. There are many
people that do not have the advantage of the tools to understand art. It
is a visual language but far from universal at this time. Eventually,
after enough art educators include the language of art that comes through
the practice of critical analysis withing their curriculaum, then maybe
we might approach a universal language.
i]#t( okHi Cathy! {w{Qi]#t( okHi Cathy! zo{o^m7N"BV{>$w+
p"v3`%YLww2
---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Fri, 16 Feb 1996 18:41:15 -0500 (EST)
From: JAMES H. SANDERS <jhsander>
To: cruiz
Cc: Mary Harris <mharris>, Artsednet
Subject: Re: counseling and art

On Fri, 16 Feb 1996 cruiz wrote:

> In response to Mary Harris's comment about the universal language of
> art......I disagree that art is a universal language. Ther are many
> people that do not have the advantage of the tools to understand art.

Advantages indeed! Do I hear the voice of privilege?
I too might agree with the notion, that there are many culturally embedded
languages of visual information, and that we may lack an understanding of
the meanings attached to those pieces of physical evidence that we call
Art, thereby calling for some serious critical analysis - but, this
should simultaneously consider the validity of difference...

Ms. Harris, I might agree, that like sound, or gesture, perhaps there is
indeed a shared valuing of giving meaning to physical objects. That we
see cultures around the planet embracing the concept of communicating
ideas, and beliefs with those materials that surround them. Perhaps it
may be over reaching to call it a language - but I trust your good
intentions in posing this notion.

It
> is a visual language but far from universal at this time. Eventually,
> after enough art educators include the language of art that comes through
> the practice of critical analysis withing their curriculaum, then maybe
> we might approach a universal language.

The educator as intellectual savior! (replete with kritical spelling)
Indeed, what an arrogant notion.
To suggest that unless a culture's tool or language use meets a self-serving
standard of European art historic or analytic scrutiny, then it is somehow of
lesser value, is a indefensible position in an age which purports some
form of global awareness. (including the virtual promises of email)

I'm certain, that to those who create a visual language, regardless of
their tools, or their "intellectual" prowess, they participate in the
making of meaning through manipulation of materials. This gesture does
seem universal, regardless of its intent, political, commercial or
religious purpose. Happily, these acts certainly won't require
the endorsement of a culture that demands all of its "Art" be basically
useless. For only in that "uselessness" can it become a commodity fit
for the marketplace. Your critique is at best myoptic, and at worst,
mean spirited (and look whose talkin').

With all due respect, consider doing your post-modern homework. Perhaps
pick up a copy of Suzi Gablik's "The Reenchantment of Art" - look deeply
into your own words and ask if they are doing our culture any service.

> >
Cathy Ruiz > Student, Art Ed.
> University of Arizona
>

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Fri, 16 Feb 1996 23:38:36 -0500
From: Sandra Hildreth <shildret>
To: artsednet
Subject: Re: JAMES H. SANDERS response

Mr. Saunders,

I feel you replied very arrogantly to Ms. Ruiz's statements about the
universal language of art. While there certainly have been images/art
created throughout time that have universal appeal and message, there are
also many that require the lens of culture to understand. For example, I
have made it a personal crusade as a high school art teacher to help my
students, and colleagues, overcome their lack of understanding or
appreciation for contemporary art. I was just sick and tired of comments
about artists like Jackson Pollack - "my 3 year old could paint better than
that", "what a bunch of garbage - you call that art?", etc.. And it happens
with art from other time periods and cultures as well. The key to helping
people understand is to provide them with critical analysis tools. I find
both students and adults can make progress in this area when I take a
simple approach and use the 4 steps of description, analysis,
interpretation, and judgement. I guide my students through practice
description activities - first with easily recognizeable, realists works,
then with abstract ones. They really don't know how to look at art - what
to look for. So we carefully explore subject matter and content. Then we
analyze the artists' use of the visual elements and principles of design.
We try to indentify "style" or movement, and review the historical,
political, economic, and religious events that influenced the artists of
that "style". Then we try to interpret the work of art - what we see in it
personally, as well as how it has been interpreted by Art historians.
Finally, I encourage my students to make personal judgements - not just
whether they like a work of art or not, but what they like or dislike about
it, in terms of subject matter/content, use of visual elements and
principles of design, "style", and what kind of mood, or meaning they get
from it. This is a most helpful way of encouraging understanding of
non-western art forms as well. You can't separate art from culture. They
are intertwined and both need to be considered when critically viewing art.
And our post-modern creations are no exception - they are as much a result
of the turbulent times and events of the 20th century as they are of the
collective centuries of art that preceeded their creation.

Sandy Hildreth <shildret>
7-12 Art, Madrid-Waddington Central School, Madrid, NY 13660
Art Methods, St. Lawrence University, Canton, NY 13617


  • Maybe reply: henry: "Re: art, language, arrogance (was counseling and art)"
  • Reply: JAMES H. SANDERS: "Re: JAMES H. SANDERS response"