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----- 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
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.
This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Wed Jul 19 2000 - 10:39:06 PDT