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Lesson Plans

Visual Art, a True Discipline

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Helen Diemert (hdiemert)
Mon, 22 Jan 1996 10:24:04 -0700 (MST)

I am interested in discussing the disciplinary nature of visual art.
Probing this topic might move us from "disciplinary based" thinking into
the very core of visual art as one of only 5 major ways of communicating
amongst people. These 5 modes of expression are:
1. through words
2. through images (pictures)
3. through numbers
4. through gestures, facial & body lang., movement, etc.
5. through sounds (Music)
Notice the initial letters form a neat acronym, WINGS
These five modalities or encoding systems enable humans to convey thought
to one another. Visual art is a powerful symbolic system that needs deep
mining for systematic education. We need a curriculum that does not
depend heavily on the related fields of inquiry such as psychology,
philosophy, history, mathematics, literature, and the like. Visual art is
a true discipline not yet fully understood or centrally focussed.
Perhaps the major stumbling block has been the name (or non-name)
of the field. Art is a term too generic to use as the name of a
discipline. It refers to everything and anything achieved at a high level
of excellence, such as the art of surgery, the art of gardening, the art
of speaking, etc. When we probe the term, Art to find meaning for our
special discipline, we go immediately off the right track into a vast
morass of thought peripheral to the academic area.
Is art a true discipline? If so, lets find a more appropriate
name for it and discuss the ramifications of this challenge. Anyone
sparked by this topic, please contact me directly, if not in the open
newsgroup. Thanks. Helen Diemert, Professor Emeritus, Univ. of Calgary,