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Lesson Plans

"Revenge of the Goldfish" -Reply

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Terry Barrett (TBarrett)
Thu, 29 Feb 1996 08:34:51 -0800

On 2/28/96, Jill Pease, <jpease>, wrote:
Terry - I am truly impressed that you have answered my question so
promptly and so thoughtfully. I had never considered an
interpretation of "incest", but unfortunately that occurred to me
when I read the woman in the bed referred to as "mother". Considering
Skoglund's body of work, I would consider an interpretation of incest
to be inconsistent. However, if I interpret the image to be a case of
sexual awakening and not literally sexual activity, then I can
certainly understand and accept the designation of the woman as
mother. I was truly surprised to learn that Sandy thought of the two
figures as mother and son.
Once again I would like to compliment you and the Getty Center for
making this resource on Sandy Skoglund available, not only to art
educators but to anyone that is interested in contemporary art. It
has been very stimulating for me to read the articles and the online
discussions. Keep up the great work!!

Thank you for your kind and encouraging words for the work that
Sydney Walker, the Getty Center for Education, and I are doing
regarding the teaching of contemporary art.
You raise a very important point in your reply when you say
"Considering Sandy Skoglund's body of work..." We could turn this
into a principle for interpreting any art work: An interpretation of
a work of art that rests solely on that work of art without benefit of
knowledge of the artist's other works is intellectually risky.
Often as teachers we present a single work of art and ask
students to interpret it, putting them at an interpretive
disadvantage. This can also be a problem in a museum setting, where
only one work of art may represent an artist. Without the viewer
having a broader context of information about that art work and the
time in which it was made, the viewer is at a distinct disadvantage
in arriving with any confidence at a sound interpretation.
Thanks for your thoughts.
Terry Barrett
Visiting Scholar
Getty Center for Education in the Arts