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Re: Tolstoy and Public Art
[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]R. Moore
Fri, 19 Mar 1999 12:37:18 -0800 (PST)
I found Brenda Jones's remarks about her experience with Freshmen and
with upperclassmen regarding the accessibility (or intelligibility) of
public artworks fascinating! These two groups of students really had
quite different takes on the role of public artworks in relation the
viewing public. Tolstoy was, of course, a notorious populist. You may
recall his concluding remark in WAR AND PEACE that "everything truly great
is truly simple." He believed deeply that the mission of art was to reach
everyone and draw us all together in a collective experience. But, not
everyone agrees with this notion of art's objective today. It is very
interesting that a large number of Brenda's younger students DO think it
is important for art to connect with a broad base of understanding and
appreciation, while a large number of his older students disagree. I
would like to know whether these differences regarding our perceptions of
public art's purposes (public responsibilities, mission, etc.) are to be
found at various K-12 stages as well. What to very young kids think about
public art? What to eighth graders think about "hard" or "challenging"
works like Serra's "Tilted Arc"?