I'm just going to go with this for the moment. Start at the top and
respond as I read.
I'm pretty sure it isn't dead (tho it should be) too many people out there
capable of carrying the old ways over and unaware of the impending "death"
or any of the "official" announcements that have come out in recent
Kevin Tavin announced it in the NAEA news prior to the last convention in
Miami (where will next years be held?)He said "It's the end of art Ed as
we know it (and I feel fine)"
No the ideologies that lead to the moribund model of art ed are still out
there and contagious. Ideas and ideologies die hard. There will be some
folk committed to the old way and the old art ed. The simple declaration
of of its death is insufficient and for that matter aside form the point.
What always counts more is what we construct to displace it.
Why is the old AE dead and what do we need to do?
1 the old was unbalanced: too Western, Too Modern in perception, too
Fine art, too intellectual
In its place we need to build an AE that is rebalanced and fairly reflects
the practices and uses of aesthetic making in culture (art)around the
planet and from the paleolithic to the present. If we were to be
absolutely scrupulous about it
we'd have to throw just about all of it out and cover western art for all
of one class period or week, it's THAT small a contribution relatively
It would be a real pain to toss out all of western art that we couldn't
cover in a day and given how much of our culture still relies on that old
perspective unfair to our students as well. But I think a great deal must
be set aside for specialized classes (art of the west)
Art isn't just painting, graphics, and sculpture etc. its Shelter (the
buildings and components), Furnishings (the stuff we put inside
buildings), Apparel and Appearance (clothing, footwear, gear, accessories,
cosmetics, bodyart, etc), Foods (pasta, pastry, presentation, etc), Tools
(industrial and commercial design), Communication (love-letters,
publicity, merchandising, etc) and Recreation (games, toys, etc) Lots and
lots of etceteras. Look at the artifacts you find in any cultural history
museum from the pre-historic to comtemporary folk and you'll have an idea.
Look at the careers associated with art that we already promote!
Art isn't just the "non-utilitarian" that's a Modernist intrusion and is
probably only approprtiate in a modernist western context.
And definitely art is not primarily a professional practice. KIDS you CAN
do this AT HOME!!!!!! I hate to say this 'cause I know just about everyone
will choke on their teeth but aside from her narrow focus on Western
Fashion Martha Stewart is closer to a useful model of Art Ed than anything
the universities have come up with to date. (Are you done gagging yet?)
Seriously If Martha's demographic niche was school kids and if she spent
more time on the products of historical and traditional (non-western,
non-metropolitan) cultures she'd have something. This is real art being
used in peoples lives. No, not SIGNIFICANT ART or Significant Form, those
are Modernist ideas and values. This is Aesthetic Making having a real
impact on peoples lives. A shame it's not more soberly intellectual and
acasdemic but so it goes. This is what UNDERLIES a Peoples and a Cultures
ability to produce artist who can produce great fine art. Without a rich
underlying aesthetic culture the high culture of fine art in any culture
remains impoverished and we've been ignoring this level for 10
genertations. (at least 6 according to Dr. Mihaly Csikszentmihaly)
Of course my point of view is only mine and there is no particular reason
for anyone to jump on this band wagon other than if you see the logic in
it. Anyone could offer a competing model and if you can muster even a
small one it would be a shame not to put it out here in the world. Don't
let pompous and wordy people like me direct your thoughts towards ideas.
Everyone should play at it! Take a little responsibility for what art
education is evolving into.
All things being equal I don't see myself being invited to join anyone's
ArtEd Think Tank (And we very seriously need a couple)- I take my role as
GadFly too seriously (Thank you Vincent Lanier wherever your are). But
here on the Getty List we have a small part of a think tank of our own.
The people who make contribtions here will have a small but real influence
in the world. Hey that's why I'm here. AND, in the end, this may be the
only place to gripe about what the think tanks come up with.