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What is abstract art?

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From: KPRS (kprs_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Sat Mar 10 2001 - 05:28:21 PST


Hi All
  I am enjoying the conversations on teaching abstract art to the little
ones. I also commend and admire those of you who work with the K-8's
and introduce art history/styles and periods into your curriculum. So
many times the 'reaching back into time' gets pushed out for 'product'.
   I also want to say that not all non representational art is abstract
art according to my definitions, and I was wondering what the words
"abstract art" mean to those of you who teach it. To me, "abstract art"
means the abstraction of an "idea", and the word "idea" implies a thesis
statement. In other words, if I wanted to make an 'abstract art' of a
'chair', this painting (for example), must contain elements of what a
"chair" is (rungs, seat, back, arms, spindles, etc), and what my
intention is for that chair. A thesis statement could be: I intend to
make a painting about the deterent value of the electric chair, which
would be a far different abstract painting than the thesis statement: I
intend to make a painting about the responsibilitiy of sitting on the
Throne of England. Now, while one might think that thesis statements
might be a little harder for the younger set, I think they could be able
to actually make their own thesis statements for example on two chairs
they are familiar with, a highchair, versus a classroom chair. Non
representational art, and abstract expressionism, while they may have
strong emotional impact, are not necessarily tied to a "thing" or
"idea".

   San D

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