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Lesson Plans

Re: Art-making and Dialogue

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
R. Moore (ronmoore)
Tue, 16 Mar 1999 16:48:17 -0800 (PST)

Betty writes that her artistic activity involves an ongoing dialogue with
herself that she has been carrying on for many years. And she points out
that, like other conversations, one can sometimes not catch the point if
one breaks into it somewhere along the way. I think this is a very
perceptive and revealing point. Artists often observe that doing art
involves getting straight on a way of putting things, a give-and-take of
ideas and refinements of ideas, just like conversation. And, of course,
because the process is extensive and continuous, it can't always be
fathomed unless we are privy to the beginning, the middle, and the end.
Now, I think this is not only true of individual artistic production, but
of artistic enterprise in general. Artists are, in a way, all part of a
grand dialogue, discussing, articulating, commenting, criticizing,
ridiculing, and so on, what has already been said, and creating a
continuing stream of new expressions that, in turn generate their own
responses. Just as we can't expect to catch the point of Betty's work
when we drop in in the middle of the conversation, so we shouldn't expect
to be able to catch the point of any particular expression in art,
literature, music, dance, and so on, when we aren't aware of its
historical and aesthetic relations to other expressions in the dialogue.
This strikes me as a powerful argument for some grounding of art
appreciation (as well as art production!) in art history.