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Lesson Plans

Re: What art is

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
craig roland (rol1851.EDU)
Mon, 22 Jul 1996 20:26:25 -0500

Having followed with interest the thread begun with McSwain's posting, I
thought I'd make a contribution to the dialogue:

Most recently, Bob Fromme wrote:

....(parts deleted)

>I include Quigley's remark because the varied e-mail exchange about the
>merits >(and lack of merit) concerning certain art in contemporary museums
>illuminates >the diversity in cognitive systems among our members. As each
>of us come to >evaluate art works, we can not escape the system of belief
>which each of us as individuals hold as "the truth". That truth varies
>according to our group, the situations of our upbringing, our education,
>and our unique personal experiences with the creative experience , etc..

....(parts deleted)

I agree with this assertion and feel that teaching students (particularly
older students and adults) about "what art is" is as much a matter or
making them aware of what they themselves think "art is" or is suppose to

I also feel we shouldn't confuse the question of "what is art?" with the
question of "what is good art?"

I work with college students--both majors and non-majors. While I find
that both of these groups share similar value systems regarding art (e.g.,
a preference for realism) the latter group requires more background
information in order to bring them "up to speed" with respect to
contemporary art.

I thought I'd include a few resources in my posting that I use in my
classes when taking about the nature of art and more specifically
contemporary art. So that it doesn't become too long, I'll be breaking this
posting into two parts.

<Part One>

I have my students complete the following survey before talking about
issues related to the nature of art and making judgments about it. The
purpose of the survey is to bring to the surface some of the belief systems
students hold with respect to art:

What makes art valuable to you?

In your opinion, what is the most valuable thing about a work of art?
Number each of the following qualities from 1 to 5 to indicate their
importance to you.

(1=very important and 5=no importance.)

___ The time the artist spent working on it.

___ The skill of the artist.

___ How realistic it is.

___ How "eye-catching" it is.

___ The feelings or emotions it gives me.

___ How (or if) it makes me think about the world in some new way.

___ How original or different it is from other works I've seen.

___ The beauty of the subject depicted.

___ How much it sells for.

___ The name of the artist.

___ Other. (Please describe: _________________________.)

Part 2 to follow.


CRAIG ROLAND. Associate Professor-Art Education.
University of Florida. Department of Art. Gainesville Florida. 32611-5801.
(352) 392-9165 - Art Ed Office (352) 392-8453 - Fax

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