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As with Louise, I found Patricia's comments on the issue of teaching
contemporary art thought-provoking. They have caused me to emerge
from my lurking and to return to the fold, so to speak.
Being on an art faculty at UF that has largely jettisoned "modernist"
ideals in educating art students, the art education students I work
with here encounter all sorts of content and practices in their
studio classes which would be difficult if not inappropriate to
translate into public schools classrooms. But, I feel that
Patricia's statment (as follows) is somewhat of an
over-generalization of the art being produced today:
>>99% of it has content that is either sexually explicit , or
>>addressing political issues that refer to sensitive issues that we
>>have tried to deal with by some new form of language that is
I'd have a difficult time, for example, characterizing Andy
Goldsworthy's work as "sexually explicit" or as addressing "political
I do strongly believe that if children are to understand and derive
meaning from the art they will encounter in their lives, they must be
prepared to deal with contemporary forms of art. Contemporary art is
generally defined as art made after 1940. It is characterized by
great diversity and experimentation. Contemporary artists are
continually making us examine all of our widely held notions about
art. I often quote from George Szekely when talking to art education
students about teaching contemporary art:
"To be an artist today is to be continually engaged in questioning
what art is and what it cold be; it is to be constantly reinventing
To understand (and teach about) contemporary art, then, is to raise
the question again and again, "What is art?"
>Perhaps what we need here is a definition of contemporary art.
> Modern art is one thing- the abstract, the non-objective ... we
>should as art educators be able to deal with these. To me,
>Contemporary means what is happening today.
Here, I do agree with Patricia. we must separate "modern" art from
One book I recommend for those looking for summer reading material is
Lucy Lippard's "The Lure of the Local" (1997) which offers an
interesting perspective on at least some contemporary artists and
work that can serve as models for classroom activities.
There is much more to say...but I'm afraid I'll exceed my limit on
lines. Besides, I have to go see who get kicks off "Survivor" this
CRAIG ROLAND. Associate Professor-Art Education.
School of Art and Art History, FAC 302,
University of Florida, Gainesville Florida.
32611-5801. (352) 392-9165 - Art Ed Office (352) 392-8453 - Fax
new email address: rolandc
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