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In a message dated 7/22/00 2:36:25 PM Central Daylight Time,
> I want to know if and how teachers in high schools and colleges teach
> about controversial contemporary art , and the successes (and failures)
> they have had so that pre-service art teachers, and all others who might
> be thinking about the advisability of presenting these themes and the
> artists who explore them can be well-informed about the outcomes of so
> In other words, what works, what doesn't work. Any advice?
Dear Jane (is that your name)?
I just graduated from a Christian College and we wrote about, talked
about and had debates on many of the controversial Modern Art Images in my
Aesthetics class. The Professor laid out the theme or art piece in question
and posed a bunch of questions for us to talk about as a group or in small
groups. She stressed there were no right or wrong answers, but just our
opinion. This can be adapted for middle school, but right now I cannot tell
you how because I am a brand new middle school art teacher so I will be
treading the waters for the first time myself. I will try to go easy with
the controversial stuff to be on the safe side. High school however would
eat up on some of that I think, but nowadays I would say be careful. I am
interested in yours and others experience with this issue for the middles.
Maybe something as simple as entering their thoughts in a journal after a
thorough critique of the artwork has been done. The format we went by was;
1. Start with the facts (what is actually in the painting)? What do you see?
Make a list. (objective)
2. Elements and principals of design (objective)
3. Formal analysis. What is the meaning of the painting? Facts about the
artist or artist statement. (subjective)
I always like to tell the students that the average time a person looks at a
work of art in a museum is 7 seconds. Then I say what a shame that is and if
they do the above formal criticism, they could go on for at least 45 minutes
and actually change their mind about a piece of art. I love to take an
abstract piece and break it down for the students and then watch their
reaction change once they learn more about it.
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