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Lesson Plans

Re: WHAT'S WRONG WITH ART ED? long reply....

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henry taylor (taylorh)
Sat, 17 Jul 1999 15:13:31 -0700

Maybe so Bunki!

"Creative Thinking" is an interesting case. Personally I suspect the
students see right through that thrust seeing the that the curriculum itself
is anything BUT "creativity friendly".
Creativity is still poorly understood in the academic world. Being creative
is expensive usually beyond any practical and anticipatable remuneration. A
creative state of mind is a playful and risky one not always tolerated even
in communities who think the want creativity. Whats really wanted it a
limited comformative "creativity" which is managable somewhat productive. If
this is what is desired it's possible to "go after it" but youy have to
know what that goal is and what the aspects of it look like. Creativity
isn't usually understood at such fine resolution. So its pursuit is usually
schizogenic and the kids probably know it.

Deeply creative individuals are also known as "crackpots" or are at least
under suspicion fo being such a good part of the time. And they are. They
are wiling to take the chances whith new ideas that sensibele people aren't
ready to.

When most people say "creative" they usually mean "inventive" with the
implication of patents and everything original designs. This hasl;ittle to
do with art onthe\r than the modernist cult of originality and novelty. The
definition of good art in that context, occasionally being totally new and
never seen before. And even art dealers have trouble with that kind of
stuff. Few serious collectors look for the absolutely novel. and the ones
that do usually make the news eventually when an elderly couple donate their
collection of former rejects who art now art stars, for every such colection
there must be a few more holding more innovative creative and truly novel
"losers" in the race for fame than anything else. Sad.

Personally, I can't understand art as subject to creativity.or creativity as
being and essentially art realated quality. I would agree the there is
greater toleration for creativity, and broader appreciation for creativity
IN the arts than anywhere else. Maybe too there is an art TO Creativity; a
way of looking at the world, a way of seeing possibilities.

I believe some creativity can be learned but that some of the most powerful
creative tools have a genetic component. The thing is its difficult to shift
modes as easily as people think. Being creative requires giving up -- at
least for a time -- any concern about getting it wrong. And the academic
world, in general, has been unable to come up with any successful strategies
in the classroom for having it both ways --its important to be right its
important to be wrong..

I do very much agree with Vincent Lanier that you don't teach art as a way
of teaching creativity. When you do that--subject art to creativity you
subborn the quality of art in order to focus and attain the creativity. Any
'art" resulting from the process is reshaped by the desire to teach the
artist "Creativity" It is nop longer the work that would have resulted
without the interference of teaching sonething adjunct to art.

I can only hope that the current fad for "core" as a panaceatic perscription
will be seen as the naive thing it is in short order. It is a valuable and
powerful concept in the right, convergent, context. Logically there can be
no essential "core" to what is an essentially divergent process. An
arbitrary and appropriatly narrow "core" could be established. Bennett and
Hirsch have arbitrarily choosen a familiar, provincial, and narrow "core"
within and relative to the context of an increasingly global community. Go

If things go as they usually do tho we probably will be stuck with teaching
"core" material which is basically derived from the Western, Euro-American
canon. I started out as a rabid Mortimer Adler classicist but Art...
Thinking About Teaching Art changed my mind. Art is not confined to the
ideological borders of Western classicism and industry. It is, as i will
continue to argue, the bedrock of culture, and I'm not interested in
"monocropping" culture. I think cultures may be disappearing as fast as
mammalian species. Maybe, maybe not. I don't look forward to indoctrinating
native peoples in the values of the dominant culture "for their own good."
When a culture dies we lose just as much as when something else in the
rainforest disappears forever. We lose ways of living, ways of being human.

Feldman said it; we are all "Becoming Human Through Art"