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Lesson Plans

Re: Remington and Russell

From: Henry Taylor (taylorh)
Date: Wed Jul 19 2000 - 10:44:49 PDT

  • Next message: mcgugan: "re: stolen art site"

    ----- Original Message -----
    From: "The Austin's"

    > I actually have a Remington statue that I think I'll take to
    school for the
    > kids to use when they create their horse sculptures (great
    idea - thanks!

    This will probably peg me for the anal little twit I was in
    public school but . . If I had had a Remington sculpture as a
    model for an assignment it would probably have taken me 2 minutes
    to discover that I could not produce an even modestly acceptable
    "forgery" of the object. And that would have been IT!

    I took my art and assignments seriously and expected MUCH too
    MUCH of myself. As I grew older I became aware of that but it
    didn't really matter. You know how little kids like to do what
    adults do. I always had that problem and plastic or kid-sized
    tools and projects wouldn't cut it. As A kid I couldn't accept
    that I was at all "good" if I couldn't do work at about the same
    level as a professional and no rational explanation by
    well-meaning adults had any effect on my thinking there. I really
    wanted to be an artist but it was obvious that I never would
    be...I couldn't even get close.

    When as an artist and art teacher today I encounter adults who
    want to tell me how they can't draw a straight line (as if art
    was technical engineering) or how they just plain can't draw etc
    etc etc. I just have to wonder how many of them expected too much
    of themselves and couldn't get past it. Miserable as the
    experience was I HAD to be an artist. I kept making things in
    secret and surprise! One day I found that I wasn't really as
    lousy as I had thought. Having professional art set up for me as
    a project model only fed into and validated my sense of total
    inadequacy and persuaded me to avoid the embarassment of becoming
    an Art major.

    A lot of art, especially 20th century art does provide viable
    models for kids at all levels to attempt and succeed at and kids
    need to feel truly successful in their attempts to emulate adult
    models (IN ALL CONTEXTS) if they are going to go on and continue
    to grow and take up greater challenges.

    Kids recognize when a project/activity is only kidstuff and not
    real adult/professional Art. Art is somewhat different from most
    other subjects in that it is almost counter-intuitive to accept
    that it requires study and exercise. Kids come to school KNOWING
    THAT THEY CAN draw and paint--if they have had ANY previous
    experience. In school many of them LEARN THAT THEY CAN'T. That is
    a great loss no matter how you envisage art and its place in

    Sports might have worked out the same way but there is a more
    visceral experience there and also, because of the competitive
    and celebrity nature of sports as well as its powerful media
    presence the idea of the necessity of practice makes more sense.
    The media image of the artist is not as an athelete of some
    medium but as a creature of emotional intellect ridden by some
    unique super-personal vision. ...Imagine a movie about some
    little Shaq struggling to express his vision of some new way of
    stuffing a ball through a hoop, never playing with others, but
    always alone and deeply internal.

    If we made BIG changes in the ArtWorld and in Art Ed we might
    conceivably get to the point where kids were ready to practice
    like atheletes and beyond some age accept fairly easily that
    while they have native talent and potential they need to work
    constantly to reach "the Pros." I don't see this in the nerar
    future tho.

    Right now, in todays context, we need th find more school
    experiences where the student can compare her work to the model
    and say "Wow, I really CAN do this stuff! What's next?" Rather
    than put on a brave face for teacher an parent. (and I remember
    doing that too)

    That said, a Remington model still makes a lot of sense in a
    highschool AP class.



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