what if you replaced the terms "modernism" and "post modernism" in your
query with "renaissance" and "baroque"? would it still seem like they had
nothing to do with teaching art?
my seventh graders and i have just begun our modern art unit with a pretest
asking questions like, "is modern art art from a certain time or a certain
style?" and "how do you classify something as modern art?" and "what do you
call art that is made now?" for us there are no right or wrong answers.
we share our anwers as a class, find a lot of variety, and create
definitions that encompass everyone's ideas. by the end of the unit i hope
we will have come to think of modern art as not just a simple term but
inclusive of historical events like the advent of technology, space travel,
computers, personal freedoms - a complexity of people and lives and places
and things out of which came lots of new, different artwork which we can
label as modern. hopefully we can continue the flow from modern to
present/post-modern and see how we fit in, where we are, where we've been.
i'm sure you can teach about art - drawing, shading, primary colors, form,
etc... - without dealing with the renaissance or modernism. i think it's a
lot more interesting and useful, though, when we try to take a look at the
big picture. remember, not all of your students are going to become
professional artists. in order to support those who do, it might work to
nurture in all students an understanding of the meaning and significance of
art in everyone's life.
to me personally the periods of mod and post-mod are some of the most
important because i feel like they most closely relate to the time i live
in, the way i think, the art i make...
hope this helps!
Art Teacher, Kanapaha Middle School, Gainesville, FL
Doctoral Student, Art Education, Florida State University