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Lesson Plans


Re: WHAT'S WRONG WITH ART ED?

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
henry taylor (taylorh)
Sat, 17 Jul 1999 09:59:00 -0700


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HI Bob,

Dup messages are something of a pain but most people seem to leave the =
To: header alone and leave in a collection of recipients other than one =
Artsednet/getty ref. Probably more people are using mime than HTML code =
in their messages. and some of them find the html source code a pain to =
sort through.

Taking a scientific approach to understanding art is useful just as =
using an art therapy approach is a useful way of using art. Rational =
science is useful, but 1] it has its biases and 2] it leads quite =
frequently to formalisms. For one thing, it's quite possible to explore =
natures and contents without establishing a formal knowledge-base. just =
as it was possible to communicate quite effectively prior to Dr =
Johnson's dictionary. The essence of art, and almost any dictionary will =
confirm this, is that it's a ---way---- of doing thingsand not =
necessarily or fundamentally a way where formal rules are necessary or =
useful. There is only a limited call for a set of rules for painting the =
Mona Lisa. More general rules for painting in the style of daVinci or in =
the manner of renaissance art are more interesting but still, essential =
only in a limited context.

There are more important things to learn in the domain of the arts, and =
the visual arts specifically, than there is time or interest to learn =
for any normal individual. The question remains what's essential, =
whaty's fundamental, and what are the better approaches? I assume in =
this postmodern multicultural world that there is no one BEST approach. =
<vbg>

So this is not to say that art, all art, should be exclusively intuitive =
or warm and fuzzy or creative or anything. I'm persuaded that it's a =
useful aproach to begin by asking: What qualities are unique to art? =
That's where I want to begin to explore the nature and the content and =
the process of art.

Children become, whatever it is that they become, because they find (or =
fail to find) the disciplines, the skills, and the knowings which are =
uniquely important to them as individuals. In the arts more than =
anywhere else perhaps, one size does not fit all. Though it may be =
(infinitely?) easier to teach art as if it were otherwise. Children =
become what they become because (hopoefully) they have found a personal =
direction which drives them, and the ability to discriminate difference =
and to find value among the differences perceived as they move in that =
direction.

It's all well and good to produce a product - students - the meets the =
needs of a market -- commercial arts -- so that the personnel offices =
can hire a percentage and ignore another percentage based as often as =
not on industry wide stylistic fashions.=20

The arts, the visual arts in this case, are a unique career choice. One =
is educated in many ways to achieve a unique perspective and =
understanding of the world to be expressed in unique and personal ways =
--sometimes even to the point of making a cult of novelty-- and then =
thrown into something called the marketplace where, in order to earn a =
living, they must conform to market demands. I can't think of another =
career where one is educated to be divergent and creative and then most =
frequently expected to perform in a convergent and work-for-hire =
environment.

On the one hand, Bob, you are right. far better to blow off the emphasis =
on uniqueness and divergent, intiutive, explorative creativity in art =
education and to emphasize pragmatic, career-oriented, training in =
needed (market driven) job skills.=20

On the other hand, that decision puts the a powerful tool for shaping =
and controlling the direction of culture into the corporate boardroom =
and management art-directors.who may or may not be artistically minded; =
who may, shortsightedly have their eye of the "bottom line" of the =
profit-loss statement. "Whats good for GM is good for America" I mean =
where else are billions of dollars spent on the arts and in what =
pursuit. (But this has, from the beginning been the root-source of =
American Art Education, eh?)

I believe in the anthropological perspective that argues that art =
exists, that art is so persistant in its appearance in, cultures because =
it performs fundamental determinative functions. and that the economic =
function is only one and a relative latecomer at that. ("relative": =
Trade in art and craft derived objects shows up pretty early.)

I'm sure that art as you know it Bob, IS still taught in the public and =
in the private schools. I'm sure also that it is still taught as =
Lowenfeld and Kramer knew it, too. Somewhere, I suspect, it's taught as =
the Old Masters and The Academy knew it.

cheers
-henry

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HI Bob,
 
Dup messages are something of a pain but most people seem to leave = the To:=20 header alone and leave in a collection of recipients other than one=20 Artsednet/getty ref. Probably more people are using mime than HTML code = in their=20 messages. and some of them find the html source code a pain to sort=20 through.
 
Taking a scientific = approach to=20 understanding art is useful just as using an art therapy approach is a = useful=20 way of using art.  Rational science is useful, but  1] it has = its=20 biases and 2] it leads quite frequently to formalisms. For one thing, = it's quite=20 possible to explore natures and contents without establishing a formal=20 knowledge-base. just as it was possible to communicate quite effectively = prior=20 to Dr Johnson's dictionary. The essence of art, and almost any = dictionary will=20 confirm this, is that it's a ---way---- of doing thingsand not = necessarily or=20 fundamentally a way where formal rules are necessary or useful. There is = only a=20 limited call for a set of rules for painting the Mona Lisa. More general = rules=20 for painting in the style of daVinci or in the manner of renaissance art = are=20 more interesting but still, essential only in a limited = context.
 
There are more important = things to learn=20 in the domain of the arts, and the visual arts specifically, than there = is time=20 or interest to learn for any normal individual. The question remains = what's=20 essential, whaty's fundamental, and what are the better = approaches?  I=20 assume in this postmodern multicultural world that there is no one BEST=20 approach. <vbg>
 
So this is not to say that = art, all art,=20 should be exclusively intuitive or warm and fuzzy or creative or = anything. I'm=20 persuaded that it's a useful aproach to begin by asking: What qualities = are=20 unique to art? That's where I want to begin to explore the nature and = the=20 content and the process of art.
 
Children become, whatever it is that they become, because they find = (or=20 fail to find) the disciplines, the skills, and the knowings which are = uniquely=20 important to them as individuals. In the arts more than anywhere else = perhaps,=20 one size does not fit all.  Though it may be (infinitely?) easier = to teach=20 art as if it were otherwise. Children become what they become because=20 (hopoefully) they have found a personal direction which drives them, and = the=20 ability to discriminate difference and to find value among the = differences=20 perceived as they move in that direction.
 
It's all well and good to produce a product - students - the meets = the=20 needs of a market -- commercial arts -- so that the personnel offices = can hire a=20 percentage and ignore another percentage based as often as not on = industry wide=20 stylistic fashions.
 
The arts, the visual arts in this case, are a unique career choice. = One is=20 educated in many ways to achieve a unique perspective and understanding = of the=20 world to be expressed in unique and personal ways --sometimes even to = the point=20 of making a cult of novelty-- and then thrown into something called the=20 marketplace where, in order to earn a living, they must conform to = market=20 demands. I can't think of another career where one is educated to be = divergent=20 and creative and then most frequently expected to perform in a = convergent and=20 work-for-hire environment.
 
On the one hand, Bob, you are right. far better to blow off the = emphasis on=20 uniqueness and divergent, intiutive, explorative creativity in art = education and=20 to emphasize pragmatic, career-oriented, training in needed (market = driven) job=20 skills.
 
On the other hand, that decision puts the a powerful tool for = shaping and=20 controlling the direction of culture into the corporate boardroom and = management=20 art-directors.who may or may not be artistically minded; who may, = shortsightedly=20 have their eye of the "bottom line" of the profit-loss = statement.=20 "Whats good for GM is good for America"  I mean where = else are=20 billions of dollars spent on the arts and in what pursuit. (But this = has, from=20 the beginning been the root-source of American Art Education, eh?)
 
I believe in the = anthropological=20 perspective that argues that art exists, that art is so persistant in = its=20 appearance in, cultures because it performs fundamental determinative = functions.=20 and that the economic function is only one and a relative latecomer at = that.=20 ("relative":  Trade in art and craft derived objects = shows up=20 pretty early.)
 
I'm sure that art as you know it Bob, IS still = taught in the=20 public and in the private schools. I'm sure also that it is still taught = as=20 Lowenfeld and Kramer knew it, too. Somewhere, I suspect, it's taught as = the Old=20 Masters and The Academy knew it.
 
cheers
-henry
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