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Lesson Plans

Re: contemporary art/aesthetics

From: wendy sauls (wsauls)
Date: Sat Jul 22 2000 - 06:43:10 PDT

  • Next message: Yvette Lewis: "Re: contemporary art/aesthetics"

    tom anderson's approach to art criticism (see: 1995 Toward a Cross-Cultural
    Approach to Art Criticism. Studies in Art Education 36(4), pp. 198-204.)
    involves phases of reaction, description, interpretation, and evaluation. a
    benefit of the anderson method is the opportunity for initial "gut" reaction
    followed by a very holistic look at the artwork and its context.

    i am much more comfortable - both personally and with my students - getting
    to know an artwork in this way because it allows the artwork to be perceived
    "as it is" with no strings attached, so to speak, but also provides for
    developing and understanding of the work beyond that as well.

    before i knew anything about rothko or minimalism or color field painting, i
    had a great experience with one of his paintings just because of the way the
    colors and shapes made me feel. my reaction was, "oh, yeah! wow!"
    rothko's work became more intriguing to me later when i was able to use
    "instruments" (elements and principles, contextual information...) to
    analyze both the artwork and possible reasons for my feelings toward it.
    while i wholeheartedly support the joy and intensity of standing in front of
    an artwork and experiencing it "raw", in my opinion, coming to an
    understanding of the work usually means doing some research. reading bios
    of rothko, learning about his contemporaries and the culture within which he
    existed, hearing the story of the rothko chapel, seeing a demonstration of
    or re-enacting his painting techniques...all lead to a richer and fuller
    experience of the work. we are incredibly fortunate to now have that type
    of information so readily accessible via the internet!

    also, it is certainly not only "difficult" contemporary/nonobjective works
    that this technique enhances understanding of. representational/"classic"
    artwork has just as many layers of meaning to discover and contextual
    information to process. think of vanitas still lifes, renaissance
    portraits, greek figurative sculpture...



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