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Lesson Plans


Re: Art Fat Unite and Leave


From: Henry Taylor (taylorh)
Date: Wed Jul 05 2000 - 09:42:31 PDT

  • Next message: Rdunkelart: "Re: ain't it what it"s all about"

    > The old woman's comment was that we are all artists, but in
    > many "western" cultures, the skills have been "educated" out of
    us. Not
    > necessarily by the school art programs, but by society as a
    whole.

    A wise woman. Still, I'd say that the artworld in general retains
    the
    greater responsibility for dropping the ball. That the larger
    society
    bought in and supported this is another issue. The only way back,
    if anyone wants to recover what the west has lost, (if anyone
    thinks
    that what was lost was valuable) begins with art education.

    People don't want to consciously do trivial things. Sure they do
    them,
    but who starts out wanting to do an amateruish job of it and with
    an
    acceptance that they will, no doubt, remain amateurs. Very few;
    born hobbyists maybe. I could easily be in error here but it
    looks like
    that's what is going on.

    Historically people have learned the arts in two ways: the modern
    way,
    as consumers and "enlightened cherishers" who learn the
    marketplace
    and social skills of distinguishing quality goods and the more
    traditional
    way, as practitioners who, in the processes of making and using
    art and
    improving skill, learn as technologists the hows and whys of
    making a
    good and servicable product and look at the work of the master
    artists
    not to be entertained and blown away but searching for clues and
    yet
    unknown tricks. Maybe they eventually find and accept their
    personal
     limitations, but they get past the gate without an inherent
    barrier
    between themselves and masters of the art.

    Another element (the part where society comes into play) that has
    played a part in this loss of access has been the choice to
    assign
    greater value to the decorative artifact over the artifact of
    daily use.
    This seems, on the surface, pretty obvious and even natural.
    MAYBE it is and maybe not. Its a "wannabe" phenomena and
    begins I think with more extreme examples of social
    stratification.
    When a social class has so much surplus wealth that they can
    expend
    it on thinks meant primarily for sensual enjoyment it's not too
    surprising
    that people aspire to that class and to the opportunity to
    display similar
    marks of extravagance and aristocracy.

    There are probably a hundred things that have contributed to the
    state
    we find ourselves in today, where it can be noted that the
    practice of art
    has been "educated out of us." Now it's vastly easier to teach
    the majority
    of our students to be better consumers of art and the
    intellectual
    entertainment which can be found in the gallery and museum. At
    least it is
    easier to follow that path than it is to teach our students not
    to deprecate
    their abilities in the arts--in visual culture.

    > It makes me wonder, though, how much budding artistic talent we
    thwart by
    > erecting standards of "good" and "bad" art?

    AMEN! A rhetorical question with a good point! Also, what happens
    when we
    -disqualify- art? --You know, the "Oh that's not real art!"
    comments. and the
    "Is it art?" questions. Standards ARE useful. I won't argue about
    that. But they
    are MORE useful when we eschew the binary extremes and focus on
    the
    continuum between the extremes. "In THIS context, TO WHAT EXTENT
    or
    degree does this work or this technique succeed in meeting such
    and such criteria."
    "Good art / bad art" and "art / not art" are simply not the
    issues any more.

    > As the Taoist Lao Tzu said, "We do not recognize Beauty unless
    we also
    > recognize Ugliness."

    Have you ever tried to cut the negative pole off of a bar magnet?
    It can't be done.
    the smallest particle still exhibits the +/- polarity. This is a
    material example but
    it would be an error to see it as other than a metaphor for our
    need to assign
    + and - values in the world. But I think that the cases are much
    the same.It is a
    field/ground relationship in which one cannot perceive the one
    without the other.
    It is only wishful and even magical thinking to believe the we
    can dispense with
    or overcome the negative or the "dark side." Still there is a
    long philosophical
    tradition in the west that struggles to find the path or
    methodology to accomplish this.

    -henry

    ---
    



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