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> our students (adolescents in general) have a strong idea what beauty is.
> much of the art they take as their own is quality-dependent on
> properties of provocation, novelty and risk- that is fashion oriented.
yep, fits the pattern.
> as we see it their are two art classroom choices: focus on the students'
> sensibilities (in order to maximize quality of engagement) or lead them
> into other realms of aesthetic experience (which we know to be important
> and substantial but which will reduce the depth of personal expressive
don't see that it needs to be an either/or choice. seems more like a
couple of perspectives which are useful to encounter.
> taking into account the fact that most high school art students (in our
> situation at least) will probably not have another structured art
> experience which direction might one chose to emphasize?
I tend to think, because structured art experiences are rare, it is
important for me as an instructor to move beyond them and into the worlds
they inhabit and will inhabit. I see art both as a license and as a key to
access just about anything short of neuro-surgery or prescribing
There are art objects which are made and there is an artists sensibility
which approaches and examines everything and guides our actions even if we
are not directly involved in something called "art" or "aesthetics". With
my own kids I do and allow all kinds of things not remotely related to art
in any conscious way. Along the way I point out occasionally how I've used
an understanding of design or forms of relationship to help me/us.
Homework is a useful example. A lot of our thought processes could be and
have been described as algebraic, that is they are involved with
establishing balance between disparate sides there are many ocasions when
we need to understand a balance of some sort. Art and aesthetics provide
visual models which can be more accessible to some people than other
points of access. Visual balance is fairly amenable to intuitive
understanding. The skills are transferable.
It is something to apply during off-task time and casually as if it were
assumed that its not an unusual approach to understanding. Scientific and
"rational" sensibilities are reinforced constantly. The artistic
sensibility is equally useful and quite different from the others. That in
itself can be useful.
Establish criterion for evaluation....(aesthetic)
Converge upon a general rule............(science)
Diverge into a personal elaboration.........(art)
Consider known alternatives.............(history)
Compare elaboration with criterion....(criticism)